Mexican shoppers staying away from California border town, putting merchants on edge

Border Report

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The first week since travel restrictions were lifted for the fully vaccinated has been termed a “disappointment” by some merchants along San Ysidro Boulevard who were expecting more shoppers from south of the border.

One of the businesses feeling the pinch is Carolin Shoes, which is managed by Olivia Campos.

“I’m very happy that they opened the border and I think things are going to start to get better,” she said.

Campos said her store saw more customers on Saturday and Sunday, but the week leading up to the weekend could have been busier.

Olivia Campos manages Carolin Shoes in San Ysidro, Calif. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“The foot traffic was a little slow,” she said. “I’m not giving up, I’m still hopeful they’re coming little by little. I cannot say everyone is going to come in one day or two days but we need them to come and shop with us, otherwise, we cannot survive without them.”

Campos said it’s imperative for business to pick up through the holiday season if they are to remain in operation.

“The holidays are the best season of the year for us. Without Christmas, it is very tough to survive the whole year.”

Campos stated that many of her neighbors are in the same predicament, hoping visitors return to the area to shop like they did before the coronavirus pandemic began, and the essential travel restrictions were put in place.

“We started to see that Mexican people have started coming little by little, they’ll keep coming back.” she said.

One shopper who had not been north of the border is Olga, who told Border Report she had not been shopping in California in about two years.

“I was finally able to cross the border, actually started shopping in Los Angeles and now I’m here,” she said in Spanish.

Olga is one of few shoppers from Mexico who have made the effort to return north of the border since essential travel restrictions were lifted. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the average daily weekday pedestrian crossings during the first week in November was 14,609 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. On November 8, when the restrictions were lifted, crossings on foot went up by 15 percent.

Vehicles and people crossing the border in cars remained about the same.

Figures provided by Customs and Border Protection.

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