Although Mexican and U.S. authorities agreed to restrict border crossings to essential activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Baja California governor Jaime Bonilla traveled to San Diego, California, to celebrate his birthday and wedding anniversary at a luxurious casino.
Governor Bonilla was criticized for only wearing a face shield but failing to wear a face mask and for ignoring travel restrictions at the Mexico-U.S. border, which ban tourism.
After the video went viral, Jaime Bonilla explained his trip to the U.S. took place two weeks ago.
Sources said I have visited a casino located in Lakeside, California.
During a Facebook Live, the governor said I had a great time at the casino and that I made “over USD 2,000, and not only me, my wife too.” He said one of his main concerns is that his wife is happy.
While the Mexican Governor doesn’t regret breaking basic hygiene measures and travel restrictions at the Mexico-U.S. border, the Baja California Health Minister emphasized that social distancing and limiting activities to essential ones will be key to transit into the new normal.
Travel restrictions at the Mexico-U.S. border
Mexico, the U.S., and Canada agreed to extend travel restrictions until August 21.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry (SRE) said via Twitter that “after reviewing the development of the spread of COVID-19” Mexico had proposed to the US. government that they extend the restrictions on ground travel at the US-Mexico border for 30 more days. ”
Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that an opening between the U.S. and Mexico “would not be prudent right now,” given that COVID-19 cases in “the states of the southern United States, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, are on the rise.”
Essential cross-border workers like healthcare professionals, airline crews, and truck drivers are still allowed to cross. Truck drivers are considered essential workers because they move food and medical goods in both directions.
The non-essential travel restriction was implemented on March 20. At the time, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced restrictions on crossings for tourism at the US-Mexico border as a coronavirus contention measure but emphasized that trade, work, and medical trips would not be affected.
Ebrard said the measures would affect who is able to cross the border at ports of entry.
“Yes, in cases of tourism and recreation, essentially, it will be restricted,” he said.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said that the bilateral efforts would seek to maintain trade flows and economic activity between the two countries while also tackling coronavirus.
Who is Jaime Bonilla?
Jaime Bonilla Valdez is a Mexican politician and entrepreneur from Baja California. He is a member of Morena, the ruling party.
He became governor in 2019 and he is set to step down from the role in 2021. He was embroiled in a legal battle to extend his governorship until 2024; However, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the so-called Bonilla Law in May 2020, banning him from extending his period from two to five years.
COVID-19 in Baja California
As of July 25, Baja California has registered 12,822 COVID-19 cases and 2,532 coronavirus-related deaths. At least 526 cases are still active.
Around 51.76% of victims are female, while 48.24%. The majority of patients are staying home, 61.19%, and 38.81% required hospitalization.
Source: El Universal