NewsLocal News


'We are not going to survive': Border businesses await reopening

canada border
Posted at 7:57 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 12:00:32-04

(KGTV) -- It has been more than a year since the U.S.-Mexico border closed to tourists. Businesses that rely on the foot traffic from Mexico are now awaiting for July 21 which is the day where the Department of Homeland Security decides to either keep the border closed or reopen.

For business owners in San Ysidro, it has been a never-ending roller coaster as they wait to see if and when they will see their clientele from across the border.

"A lot of us we are not going to survive if we don't get any help to be honest." Those are the concerns of Olivia Campos, the owner of Carolin Shoes. Campos has spent over 20 years in the retail industry.

She showcases her large showroom, which pre-COVID, used to be packed by the house, "If there was not covid you would see 12 to 15 people here."

Now, Campos says they are lucky if one person walks through an aisle, "You can see there is no people walking in the streets," she shared, "no cars, no nothing."

Steps away, in the same shopping center, lies Frontera Norte. The owner, Mariacruz Lopez says her business has been slow, "Like 30 percent of our customers are visa customers that come across and those are the ones that are not coming across."

The transportation agency used to make multiple trips across the West Coast with seven buses. Now they have only four buses. Their once daily trip to Washington state, is now weekly. Their trips to Los Angeles, which used to happen seven times a day, became downsized to four.

"We had to cut our runs," Lopez sharse, "so every time they say it's going to be open, we look to add another run but then we can't add it until the border is open."

The San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce says as of Monday, 650 businesses in the area have been impacted, and 197 have been forced to close.

Campos looks at her neighboring businesses, many of which are permanently closed, and hopes her pride and joy, does not become one of them, "My hope is going down already," expresses Campo, "because I saw Los Angeles already issued a mask mandate, so we have very little possibility to reopen the border."

Those like Lopez are expecting the worst, "Every time they say it's [going to open], our hopes come up. Then they come down. Another month, and another month."

Yet the two storefronts keep hoping. As they want a reopenin, more foot traffic and filled carts, and to keep their stores, and those that surround them, open.

Campos says that her biggest fear at the moment is the Delta variant along with many people remaining unvaccinated. She believes that will be the deciding factor in whether or not the border reopens.

Mayor Todd Gloria released this statement to ABC 10News on Monday night:

“The restrictions on nonessential travel into the United States has kept families apart and devastated the businesses that count on cross-border traffic for survival. Many small businesses in San Ysidro, for example, have been forced to close. This is unnecessary damage to our regional economy, as Baja California’s vaccination rate is similar to that of San Diego County and air travel is allowed despite restrictions on traveling by car or foot. For months, I have been calling on federal officials to end these restrictions, and I will continue to do so until they are lifted.”