SAN YSIDRO, Calif. — The Department of Homeland Security is approaching another deadline to either lift or extend restrictions on non-essential border travel with Mexico next week, and businesses in the San Ysidro area are hoping this will finally be the month things reopen.
In March of 2020, the Department of Homeland Security closed the border to non-essential travel at land and ferry ports of entry, hurting businesses on the San Diego-Tijuana border.
Businesses are now hopeful as they await July 21 — the date the most recent extension would expire.
As the restrictions have continued to be extended every month, businesses in the San Ysidro area, who rely on Mexican tourist for their revenue, have been feeling the impact.
“The locals tend to buy more stuff in the Chula Vista area, and this area is more intended for San Ysidro and the ones that come from Tijuana,” said Manuel Martinez, store manager for soccerloco.
Martinez says if the restrictions are lifted next week, his store doesn’t have the staffing to accommodate the influx of customers.
Due to the pandemic, soccerloco only has one employee managing the entire store.
“I have been working here in the San Ysidro area for a couple years and I drop by eventually at some of the other stores to check up on them,” Martinez said. “I know they have a really trans schedule too, they have no employees, and it’s not just us, everybody is hurting right now.”
According to the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, nearly 200 businesses in the area have closed since restrictions have been put in place.
San Diego Todd Gloria, along with other border mayors, signed and sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to lift the restrictions on the July 21.