HUNDREDS of Americans rushed to cross into the U.S. from Mexico, as the border is set to close today amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The border will remain open mainly for trade and will restrict travel, as officials work to limit international travel amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Pictures show cars lined up in a gridlock as the border was expected to close Friday for an undisclosed amount of time.
In bumper-to-bumper lines, people made a rush for the border as they tried to cross before travel to and from Mexico is shut Friday.
The rush came as more than 14,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S., with at least 205 deaths.
Much like travel bans already in place for Europe and Canada, the ban was set to halt nonessential travel and just allow for trade across the countries.
"Essential workers" – including farmworkers, grocery store employees, and restaurant and grocery store employees will be allowed to cross from the U.S. and Mexico for their jobs, according to a list given by U.S. officials, but the border will be closed for most travel, Paola Avila, chair of the Border Trade Alliance said.
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said he proposed steps that "won't paralyze economic activity and keep the border open to commerce with work," when speaking with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday.
Mexico is America's largest trading partner, with the U.S. accounting for 75 percent of the country's exports.
The expected border closure comes just after the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, warning Americans to avoid all international travel.
California's Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all residents to stay home unless they need to leave for absolutely necessary things, like grocery shopping or dog walking on Thursday.
Any U.S. citizens living abroad that need to return home have been urged to do so immediately, unless they expect to remain abroad indefinitely.
Pompeo said he and Ebrard "have been working closely on travel restrictions that balance protecting our citizens from further transmission of #COVID19" on Twitter Thursday evening.
"Together, we can reduce public health risks and prioritize essential cross-border commerce and trade," Pompeo said.
Officials had not made an official announcement on the details of the border close, but they are expected to come Friday.
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