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Business owners fear another month of travel restrictions could wipe them out

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 21:22:16-05

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. (KGTV) -Business owners in San Ysidro worry that yet another month of restrictions on non-essential travel between the US, Mexico, and Canada could close them for good.

For the eighth month in a row, the land borders between the United States and its neighboring countries to the north and south will remain closed to non-essential travel to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Monday U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed the extension would last through at least December 21st.

Geneva Gamez and her family run Tacos La Fronterra in San Ysidro.

"It's kind of been a roller coaster ever since. Everything keeps changing," said Gamez.

The agreement continues the hold on tourism and recreational trips, but essential business and trade are not affected. Crossing for educational or medical reasons is also permitted.

"You don't get much traffic down there unless somebody is going into Mexico or coming back from Mexico," said Gamez.
Gustavo De La Fuente is the executive director of the Smart Border Coalition. He said the impact of the restrictions is far-reaching.

" You're looking at a little over 700 businesses that could close definitely, and that's actually very worrisome," said De La Fuente.

The holiday season is when many of the business owners make most of their money.

"This is the time of the year when 80% or more of their sales are coming for the entire year, their sales are most of their sales are concentrated in these last 5, 6 weeks of the year," said De La Fuente.

Gamez hopes people remember the family-owned businesses when they're doing their holiday shopping.

"It's affecting part of the San Diego community that's somehow you know isolated, cause it's so close to the border and it's often forgotten, if people could just make the effort if they can, to drive down there or somehow support small businesses in the area, they'd be doing a lot of good for that part of the community."