SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — When the pandemic began last year, there were 800 businesses that called San Ysidro Boulevard home within roughly a mile of the port of entry. Since then, 187 have closed their doors according to the local chamber of commerce.
“Even if we lifted restrictions tomorrow, they’re not coming back,” said Jason Wells, the executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. “Sad part is, 1,900 jobs were lost, 1,900 families that counted on mom or dad for a job to put food on the table, those jobs don’t exist anymore.”
Wells said his membership has been hurt more by the border restrictions than from COVID-19.
“Look, on San Ysidro Boulevard, 95 percent of our clientele is coming from Mexico, and the vast majority of these are pedestrians with tourist visas, precisely those that can’t come across today and haven’t been able to for 18 months,” he said.
Wells reports financial losses to his membership are close to a billion dollars.
“We’re never going to remake the money,” he said.
The U.S. and Mexico have been in negotiations to do away with restrictions. The White House is said to be insisting Mexican border cities reach the 75 percent vaccination rate before the border can reopen completely.
According to Wells, health officials in Tijuana have met the vaccination requisite.
“We really feel the government is out of excuses,” he said
Wells wants the border restrictions lifted by July 21. There’s been a lot of speculation it will happen, but no official word yet.
“It would be a nice Friday surprise, it would be a reason to celebrate over a weekend for a change in a year and a half.”