San Ysidro Business Community Welcomes Full Return of Cross-Border Travel

The US land borders reopen to nonessential travel next Monday. Visitors must show proof of vaccination.

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San Ysidro business owners are anxious for the return of many of their customers.

This Monday the Port of Entry and Ferry terminal will open to nonessential travel as long as visitors are fully vaccinated.

Olivia Campos and her family managed to keep Carolin Shoes open over the 19 months the San Ysidro Port of Entry was closed to the majority of her customers, but it wasn’t easy.

 “We are seven days working. Seven days working without it stopping,” Campos said.

Each of those days are 10 to 12 hours serving very few customers.

With Monday comes hope.

“Monday I am going to be 8 o’clock over here. I wish it to come back to normal, but I don’t know exactly what is going to happen to be honest," Campos said.

San Ysidro’s Chamber of Commerce Executive Director tells NBC 7 95% of its small business customers come from Mexico. More than 275 businesses closed because of travel restrictions.  

“It’s been rough on my parents as far as workers also just retail itself no income," Alex Espinosa said.

Espinosa and his family own Rossy’s Fashion next to Campos’ store.

The business started on one side of the building.

Travel restrictions forced the shop next door to close so Rossy’s took the chance on expanding to the entire building.

Monday Espinosa hopes that gamble pays off.

“Back to normal. Yeah, back to normal. The usual and more business,of course,” Espinosa said.

As promising as the combination of reopening the San Ysidro Port of Entry to nonessential travel and the holidays just around the corner is, retailers are looking at the horizon and what they see are increased costs and difficulties stocking shelves.

 “It’s really hard because we have hardly 10 boxes of high heels in the whole year because they don’t have enough, and they give the majority of the merchandise to the chain stores,” Campos said.

In anticipation of larger crowds next week, both stores bought as much available merchandise as they could get their hands on. They are increasing hours of operation but not staff.

Officials with the Port of Entry are predicting a significant increase in traffic. CBP staffing is back to pre-covid levels.

“We know people are coming and then we can survive for the next months or years to come,” Campos said.

Visitors are required to have proof when they cross the border and CBP officers will randomly check travelers' vaccination documents.

A spokesperson tells NBC 7 that a picture of your proof of vaccination on a mobile device is acceptable.  

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