Border businesses gear up for travel restrictions to be lifted

Local

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. — Border businesses are preparing for a large influx of customers as the U.S. opens international travel to vaccinated people on Monday.

Many of the businesses have been struggling during the pandemic, but are now hoping that will change once travel restrictions are lifted.

The line to get into the U.S. Monday from Mexico is already forming with customers waiting to get in. Officers say travelers must bring proof of vaccination in order to enter the U.S., adding border traffic has already risen close to pre-pandemic levels.

“I’m very excited,” said Olivia Campos, owner of Carolin Shoes. “A lot of people are already making a line to come to visit us and it’s something wonderful that everybody is looking to come back and cross the border to shopping in the U.S.”

Campos’ shop on San Ysidro Boulevard even staffed an extra worker with another on-call in case the shop needs more help with more customers.

“More sales for sure and more income,” Campos said. “More employees, everything better for us. We don’t want anymore hard times paying rent and all the expenses we have.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection warns travelers to prepare for longer wait times. 

“We ask that you travel during our off peak time hours,” said Moises Castillo, with CBP. “At the San Ysidro Port of Entry, our peak time hours are Sunday from 2 p.m. up until midnight. Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. up until 10 a.m.”

Other shop owners like Sunil Gakhreja says the increase in customers is good for business.

“That’s what we’re hoping for you know,” Gakhreja said. “That’s what we’re holding on for. For the last 19 months, we’ve been closing and reopening, so we should be doing good.”

He says on a good day his shop can see up to 200 customers, but since the pandemic, he’s been only seeing 30 to 40.

“Recently it’s been slow side, definitely for all the border closing, definitely so, but hopefully they open tomorrow and we can see a big jump,” Gakhreja said.

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