San Diego’s border businesses hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions

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SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — San Ysidro’s main street is lined with shops selling blankets, clothing, shoes, perfume and other items. During the holidays, they are usually bustling, but the pandemic has hit businesses hard this year.

For decades, the bulk of these businesses have been supported by people who cross the border from Mexico.

According to the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, about 90 percent of the clientele is from south of the border.

But since the pandemic started and essential travel restrictions were ordered, these shops have seen a drastic drop in customers. About 60 percent of the shops have had to close their doors and now the area is plastered with “for lease” signs.

“Christmas season is one of the most commercial seasons in the whole year, but we’re going slow, this Christmas season is not like other years,” said business owner Joslyne Vasquez.

Joslyne Vasquez runs Yes Coffee along San Ysidro Boulevard. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Vasquez operates a small coffee stand called Yes Coffee. She has seen many of her neighbors go out of business in recent months.

“Kind of complicated situation this COVID pandemic, it’s going to be really tough for a lot of families,” she said.

Vasquez admits it’s been a difficult year. She’d hoped the travel restrictions would have been removed by now as everyone was looking forward to the holiday season when stores and shops make an estimated 65 to 70 percent of their earnings for the entire year.

“It’s been sad really sad, and right now not like other years,” Vasquez says.

Vasquez says she should be okay because she’s not as dependent on south of the border visitors as her neighbors, she expects things to change by the spring.

“I hope by May this is all over with,” she said.

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