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Valley family forgoes annual Christmas trip to Mexico due to COVID-19

Posted at 5:22 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-19 16:18:35-05

PHOENIX — Coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, including Mexico. According to the CDC’s recent travel health notice, Mexico is at level 4, which means it’s at a very high level of COVID-19.

But, despite the pandemic and a warning from the CDC to avoid all travel to Mexico, many Arizonans have decided to travel back home to visit their loved ones.

ABC15 received images showing hundreds of cars waiting to make it across the border at the port of entry in Nogales.

“I’m really upset and disappointed in a lot of people. Traveling during this time is a total lack of responsibility,” said Abel Hoyos.

Hoyos lives in Avondale, but he is originally from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

He says traveling to Mexico during the holidays is a family tradition, something they’ve been doing for the last 20 years. But as hard as it is to give it up, they decided to stay home this year for fear of getting his family unknowingly sick.

“We’re involved in a terrible, horrible pandemic. Traveling is the perfect way to catch the disease and a perfect way to spread the virus,” expressed Hoyos.

Although he’s sad about not going to see his 94-year-old mom, who he hasn’t seen for a year, he knows her life and the life of many others depend on it.

“When I told her she was like, ‘that’s fine mijo, you don’t have to, you’re going to have more time. We’re going to have more time.’ 92 years old and she was perfectly able to understand why we’re not going."

He says seeing the lines of cars waiting to cross to Mexico in Nogales makes him wonder why others aren’t being more careful and understand the situation just like his mother did.

“I mean lines of two miles long, thousands of people crossing the border. I wonder if they were following the CDC guidelines here and if they’re going to follow them once they’re there.”

Meanwhile, doctors in Mexico say they’re overwhelmed with patients and are sending a clear message to those who live in Arizona.

“COVID cases keep rising daily. Our public and private hospitals don’t have any more ventilators,” stated Laura Mendoza, a health care worker in the border town of San Luis Rio Colorado in Sonora, Mexico.

A nurse in the same town wants to make sure people understand that this is a global issue.

“We want you to stay home. To support your frontline workers and take precautions. We’re in a global pandemic and only want to stop the spread,” said Jesus Fernandez.

Others like Dr. Daniel Benitez warn about spending the holidays in a hospital.

“It would be really sad if you or your loved one has to spend the holidays in a hospital or receiving bad news. We understand you want to be with family, but please avoid seeing people who don’t live in your home,” said Benitez.

Their message is the same that the CDC wants the public to follow. But if you must travel, they recommend getting tested first, wear a mask, stay socially distanced, and to get tested again once you return.

“We have the vaccine right now. So why risk my life, the life of others, my family, my mom over there, my relatives over there if we would be able to travel again in four months,” said Hoyos.

You can find the CDC travel recommendations here.