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San Ysidro Chamber Hopes Border Restrictions Lift In Time For Peak Holiday Season

San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce sign is photographed on April 21, 2021.
Alexandra Rangel
San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce sign is photographed on April 21, 2021.

The United States has once again extended its non-essential ground travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico.

On Monday, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said border restrictions will extend through Oct. 21.

San Ysidro Chamber Hopes Border Restrictions Lift In Time For Peak Holiday Season
Listen to this story by Alexandra Rangel.

The restrictions were first placed in March of last year and since then it’s been a series of monthly extensions.

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Carlos Guerrero is the store owner of Elite Tactical in San Ysidro. He said business has been slow.

“I would get a lot of Mexican cops since I do sell tactical gear, I sell boots and holsters and that kind of stuff,” Guerrero said.

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“Since the pandemic and the border is closed there’s not been a lot of movement, but luckily they do have a lot of friends that come shop for them now,” he said.

San Ysidro’s Chamber of Commerce Director Jason Wells says businesses are suffering.

“I’m tired of the grim reality of the things we can't control. So what we can control is going forward and what we can do for our businesses so what we’ve done is put out a recovery plan for San Ysidro,” Wells said.

Part of that plan includes a pilot project to help businesses put their stores online. The chamber is still finding ways to fund the program.

They represent more than 700 businesses.

“From March of 2020 till now we’re looking at a loss of about 270 businesses,” Wells said.

The chamber has made attempts to reach out to the White House, but Wells says all their letters have gone unanswered.

“I've never seen a political decision affect a community and that community have no representation in Washington whatsoever,” he said.

He’s hoping Oct. 21 will be the cut off date for the travel ban.

“That 250 lost business can double or triple with the lack of one more holiday season,” he said.

The White House announced Monday that it plans to ease restrictions for fully vaccinated foreigners starting in November, but it only applies to air travelers.