EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Juarez restaurants, bars, shopping centers and schools have been ordered to cut back to 50 percent occupancy through Dec. 12 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state of Chihuahua.

New coronavirus cases shot up 27 percent in the last two weeks of November and fatalities were up nearly 30 percent during the same period, said Dr. Leticia Ruiz, director of preventive health in Chihuahua. Hospital occupancy rates also went up and 46 people were on ventilators as of Tuesday.

The decision to go back to the so-called yellow threat level comes just as the U.S. reopens its land borders to non-essential travel and the Christmas shopping season goes into full swing. The U.S. is requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination from foreign nationals crossing its borders.

“We need to observe protective measures like social distancing, correct use of face masks and frequent hand-washing. It’s important to know that vaccination reduces the probability of death but does not eliminate the risk of infection,” Ruiz said during her daily online public briefing.

Juarez has recorded 35,990 COVID-19 infections and 3,967 fatalities since the pandemic began. In El Paso, health authorities had reported 161,254 infections and 2,878 deaths as of Wednesday.