SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. —
The U.S. will lift travel restrictions on Nov. 8 making it possible for travelers outside the country to enter for the first time since the start of the pandemic. This new travel system will require vaccinated foreign air travelers to show proof of full vaccination and test for COVID-19. Also starting on Nov. 8th fully vaccinated people can cross the Mexico and Canada border for nonessential travel. In early January, those traveling for essential purposes will be required to show proof of full vaccination.
The opening of the Mexico border for nonessential tourism is a huge win for San Ysidro where 86% of their customers come from Mexico.
“It could not come at a more critical time,” said Jason Wells with the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. During the nearly 20 months of travel restrictions, San Ysidro has been slowly recovering after the loss of 200 businesses.
“We had just made the $1.25 billion mark in lost sales so we have been counting on this," said Wells.
The United States' new travel policy requires vaccination for foreign national travelers including people arriving by land or passenger ferry through the Mexico and Canada border.
“I think the traffic is going to be a lot heavier. We're going to try and get more people to staff the land ports of entry in San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. It’s very important that these people be able to come from Tijuana and other places into San Diego not only to shop but also to work because we rely on them,” said Congressman Juan Vargas.
Congressman Juan Vargas represents California District 51 and sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee. He said people are asking which vaccines will be accepted for entry.
“You need proof of vaccination that you've been fully vaccinated but they're not saying that we won't accept certain types of vaccines,” said Vargas.
Vaccines not approved in the U.S. have been given out in Mexico but Vargas said he believes a high percentage of people from northern parts of Mexico are vaccinated by FDA-approved vaccines.
“We will find out as more people arrive at the border and show their proof of vaccination to see what vaccine they have,” said Wells.
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