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Sonora makes exception, opens border to Rocky Point-bound travelers
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Sonora makes exception, opens border to Rocky Point-bound travelers

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Lukeville/Sonoyta border crossing

Lukeville Port of Entry, the favorite crossing spot for Americans headed to Rocky Point, in 2019.

Days after the Sonoran governor announced a halt to nonessential southbound border traffic, the governor’s office has decided to make an exception for certain travelers headed to Puerto Peñasco.

Border checkpoints will remain in place in Nogales, Agua Prieta and San Luis Rio Colorado, turning away travelers from Arizona who aren’t engaged in essential activity, such as work activities or seeking medical care.

But the Lukeville/Sonoyta crossing will allow passage to Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point or “Arizona’s beach,” according to the office of Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich.

Only travelers with proof of a confirmed reservation at a hotel or resort certified in proper COVID-19 protocol will be permitted to pass the checkpoint, according to a Friday news release.

Though Mexican beaches are still closed, Puerto Peñasco reopened to tourism on June 16, after establishing strict health and safety protocols to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

The town’s tourism sector was dismayed by this week’s announcement that tourists would not be allowed to visit from Arizona starting on July 4, Hector Vazquez, president of Puerto Peñasco’s Office of Conventions and Visitors, said on Friday. The Sononan governor had cited the explosion of COVID-19 cases in Arizona, and the upcoming holiday weekend, as the reasons for the temporary border closure.

On Thursday, Puerto Peñasco officials petitioned the governor’s office to allow a “safe corridor” from the Lukeville/Sonoyta border crossing to the popular beach town, Vazquez said.

As early as Thursday night, some southbound travelers were turned away at a new checkpoint after the Lukeville crossing, even though the Sonora-U.S. border closure wasn’t supposed to take effect until Saturday, Vazquez said. State and local officials are communicating the recent changes to those who are manning the border checkpoints, he said.

“There’s a bit of confusion, but we are already working on letting all the authorities involved know about it,” he said. “I am sure that soon everyone will know and there will be no more visitors that need to turn back.”

Puerto Peñasco still has its own checkpoint set up at the entrance to town, staffed by health and tourism officials, as well as the Navy and National Guard. Travelers will have their temperature taken and will pass through a “disinfection tunnel” where they will be sprayed with a disinfectant before they can continue to Puerto Peñasco.

Detailed health protocols for tourists visiting Puerto Peñasco can be found on the website cometorockypoint.com.

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