San Ysidro businesses struggle amid extended border restrictions
SAN YSIDRO (KUSI) – Non-essential travel has been halted at our nation’s border for seven months now, but local advocates warn that more needs to be done to implement safety protocols and allow for restrictions to be lifted.
San Ysidro is home to the busiest land port of entry in the Western Hemisphere and with incoming travel cut in half, businesses are struggling to stay afloat. It comes at a time when the busy holiday season should be starting.
“80% to 90 % of their sales for the year come between essentially Thanksgiving through the end of the year, so it would be devastating,” said Gustavo De La Fuente the Executive Director of the San Diego-Tijuana Smart Border Coalition. “So far, many places have closed temporarily, but if this continues another two months then you will see a permanent closure of businesses there and that’s scary.”
Every month since mid-March officials have extended partial border closures, and businesses in the area say they are down well over 50% of business. They fear the October 21 to lift closures will be pushed back yet again.
“Everything is bad but it’s getting to an even worse situation now,” said business owner Sunil Gakhrej. “Now we are eating our savings, but I cannot close my business. We have been here more than 10 years at the same location so we cannot close.”
Gakhrei opened his first business venture– Sunny Perfume, just months before the recession in 2008. While he managed to survive that difficulty, he took another leap of faith four months before the pandemic hit by opening a pizzeria called Maya’s pizza .
Now, both businesses are in danger and he wishes elected officials would communicate the criteria needed to lift restrictions.