SAN YSIDRO, Calif. (KGTV) — San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria toured a San Diego County-sponsored vaccination superstation at the San Ysidro Port of Entry Thursday. After the tour, he and several local officials urged the federal government to reopen the border.
The hustle-bustle in San Ysidro has been non-existent for 15 months.
“It’s been just hanging on to survive. Waiting for the border to be open,” cell phone shop owner Omar Trujillo said. “I’m down like 60%.”
Trujillo said finding out Homeland Security’s decision to once again, postpone the reopening of the border was devastating.
“Retail sales were down $200 million, which is a 72% loss for the region,” San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas said.
South Bay elected officials including Vargas, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, and National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis pleaded with the federal government to let them reopen.
“It is critical for the economy,” Gloria said. “This is justified as vaccination rates increase and infection rates fall.”
Trujillo said he continues to wear a mask in case his customers from across the border are not vaccinated.
“They need to get the federal government to donate vaccines to Mexico because that’s what’s holding it up, I think,” Trujillo said.
Mayor Gloria said vaccinations are happening every day at tents at the port of entry. Aside from the one million doses donated by the federal government, San Diego County has partnered with Mexican Consulate and UCSD Healthcare to give more than 200,000 shots at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in the last few months.
“[We have to] do everything we can to show the United States government officials at the White House far away that this is a team effort,” Mayor Dedina said.
Local officials said they are doing everything in their power to move the needle in the right direction. All they need now, is more guidance from the federal government to make it happen.
“Tell me what level of vaccination rate we need to get to on both sides of the border,” Mayor Gloria said. “Tell me what conditions we need to meet. If we had that information, that would be hope for a lot of the small businesses you are talking about. Hope that they don’t currently have today.”
The closure to non-essential travel is set to expire on July 21, 2021. But the federal government has extended that closure several times since the start of the pandemic.