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US extends closure on non-essential border travel, as massive Baja Beach Fest goes on

Mexican flag over Tijuana
Posted at 3:16 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-21 11:32:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The announcement of a non-essential travel closure extension at the border is another crippling blow to businesses along San Diego County's international border.

An employee at a San Ysidro clothing shop told ABC 10News on Friday that sales have been down since there are fewer customers.

"To minimize the spread of #COVID19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through September 21," reads part of a new tweet from the Department of Homeland Security.

Earlier this month, Canada lifted restrictions on vaccinated Americans, but the southern border has been closed to non-essential travel since the start of the pandemic.

In June, Jason Wells with the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce told ABC 10News, "The row of businesses that are along San Ysidro Boulevard, 95% of their clientele come from Mexico."

On Friday, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria wrote:

“The decision to continue extending restrictions on nonessential border travel puts an unacceptable burden on our businesses and families that rely on cross-border commerce. These completely inequitable restrictions mean someone could fly into San Diego from any part of Mexico, while those in border communities with high vaccination rates who travel at land ports of entry are kept out. As the rate of vaccinations rises in Mexico, it's time to reopen the border to boost our businesses that rely on cross-border travel and reconnect families on both sides of the border. These restrictions must be lifted now.”

Meanwhile, Friday marks the start of the second weekend of the massive Baja Beach Fest in Rosarito. A video posted to the festival's Facebook page shows visitors at the venue, along with signs that masks are mandatory. Workers are seen doing temperature checks on visitors.

The festival's website states that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required. However, some visitors said many people were not wearing masks or adhering to other safety protocols last weekend.

Only about a quarter of the population of Mexico is reportedly fully vaccinated, compared to the U.S. which is about half.