November 24 2021  |  Associations

ASUTIL & CEFSU host “La Frontera Hoy” to discuss vax & border status

By Laura Shirk

Yesterday, November 23, ASUTIL & CEFSU teamed up to host the virtual webinar, “La Frontera Hoy” (The Border Today) to discuss the return of border shops and provide an update on COVID in South America. Presenting a united front, the team of two intends to continue supporting sustained growth at the border.

Introduced by Gustavo Fagundes, President, ASUTIL, José Luis Donagaray, Secretary General, ASUTIL, Andrés Mendelsohn, President, CEFSU, and Carlos Loaiza, Secretary General, CEFSU, the event featured representatives of Uruguay’s Customs Agency, The Colorado Party of Uruguay, The Progressive Party of Brazil, m1nd-set, Neutral Free Shop, CELL SHOP and BAH FREE SHOP.

According to Luis Donagaray, with the re-opening of Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, the road to recovery in South America has been steady. However, when it comes to permitting entry into the country, Uruguay is included on the positive list – and Brazil the negative list. With this in mind, the federal governments have been working together to “harmonize the situation.”

Although Uruguay’s recovery rate at the border is equal to that of last year, it’s important to note that the country has a well-established duty free and travel retail industry. Since Brazil’s entry into the channel took place in 2019, pre-pandemic, it’s difficult to compare performance and provide insight.

As informed by Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) earlier this month, there has been a slow decline of COVID-19 infections and deaths across the Americas. Overcoming a devastating second wave, believed to be caused by domestic tourism and the Brazilian variant, Uruguay has re-opened its borders to international visitors.

To date, 56% of South America’s population is fully vaccinated, 76% of Uruguay’s population is fully vaccinated – and Brazil is at 60%. Uruguay is now offering the vaccine to children 5 – 12 years old.

As reported by “CNN Travel,” visitors must be fully vaccinated, present a negative PCR test (6+ years old) taken within 72 hours of departure, purchase travel insurance to cover COVID and complete a passenger locator within 48 hours before travel.

Health officials continue to urge authorities to prioritize the elderly, frontline workers and people with pre-existing conditions, countries to remain vigilant and follow public health measures and citizens to practice responsible liberty.

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