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Arizona Border Merchants Cautiously Optimistic About Prospect Of Border Opening

Top Mexican officials are going to push to ease pandemic restrictions between Arizona and Sonora, which have been in place borderwide for nearly a year.

On Tuesday, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that he would raise that prospect with his American counterparts this week, given that Sonora is considered green — or low risk — on the federal government’s COVID-19 scale. Important border cities, including Nogales, are also deemed low risk by the state.

“Personally, I've kind of taken the attitude, let's wait and see what happens before we get excited,” said Evan Kory, whose family runs two stores near the border in Nogales, Arizona.

He and other border merchants have seen business collapse over the last year, with many of their Sonoran customers barred from entering by the rules, which have been extended monthly since last March.

“It’s been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced,” he said. “My lifetime, my parents’, my grandparents’ lifetime, where the border has never been closed for this long.”

Kory noted that U.S. nationals have been able to cross back and forth with few, if any, restrictions throughout the last year.

Born and raised in the Intermountain West, Murphy Woodhouse has called southern Arizona home for most of the last decade. He’s one of two field correspondents at KJZZ’s Hermosillo bureau, where his reporting focuses on the trade relationship between Arizona, Sonora and the rest of Mexico.Before joining the station, Murphy was a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star and the Nogales International. Prior to his reporting career, he completed a master’s degree at the University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies and did three wildfire seasons with the Snake River Hotshots. He’s a proud graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.When he’s not reporting, Murphy is often out in the woods running or riding singletrack, or swinging in a hammock with a book.