San Ysidro, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce on Wednesday whether it will lift travel restrictions on the country’s borders with Canada and Mexico.
Up to now, the United States has restricted the entry and land border crossings of its neighboring countries to “essential travel”, including those who travel for work, medical purposes, and education institutions. These restrictions took effect last year to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the global pandemic.
Since the first few months of the pandemic, US officials have repeatedly extended travel restrictions, but local leaders including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria have called on the federal government to reconsider.
In a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Gloria requested that the restrictions be lifted because San Diego is increasingly vaccinated against the virus, and since March 2020, the region’s economy has suffered. Lost approximately US$50 million in losses.
“This has had an extremely negative impact on San Diego’s economy,” Gloria said.
According to data from the San Isidro Chamber of Commerce, San Isidro also has this sentiment, especially because about 95% of the corporate customers on San Isidro Avenue are from Mexico. The chamber of commerce said that since the restrictions were imposed, about 200 companies have closed their doors.
Nevertheless, not everyone supports deleting them.
Tijuana resident Gabriela Castro entered San Ysidro on Tuesday to visit her bank and plans to return directly to Mexico. She believes that restrictions should remain the status quo.
“We have a lot of problems with COVID-19,” Castro said. “I think it’s safer for everyone to stay at home.”
A couple from Ohio stated that they wanted to visit Mexico but did not know the rules.
Karl Wohlwend said: “We have seen it before coming, and it seems that they are technically limited to necessary travel, and returning home for Americans is an indispensable travel, so we feel comfortable.
It is easy for them and others to enter Mexico from the south. They took their temperature, and then continued on the road.
“Oh, my goodness, the food there is great,” said Mollie Flora. “People are great just walking and seeing everything is great. It’s great.”