SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria Thursday toured the San Ysidro Port of Entry “PedWest” vaccination site that has been set up to vaccinate thousands of Baja California residents.
Gloria and other local lawmakers came together to pressure federal agencies to provide a timeline and specific benchmarks to open the border to nonessential travel.
”If you can fly to Mexico without restriction, you should be able to walk or drive across to Mexico without these kinds of restrictions," said Gloria.
The mayor said San Diego businesses that traditionally relied on cross-border commerce, like those near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, have struggled to survive as land border crossings have remained closed to nonessential travel.
”70 percent of our customers come from TJ," said Karla Hernandez, who manages Achiote Mexican Restaurant by the border.
Hernandez said her employees, half of whom live in Mexico, are spending several hours each day crossing the border to come to work.
Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis and County Supervisor Nora Vargas also joined the mayor during the tour.
"Today, 198 businesses have closed their doors forever due to these restrictions, and so then it’s estimated that March ‘20 and March 2021 that retail stores lost were [down] $200 million, which is a 72 percent loss for the region," said Vargas.
All the speakers said they've been working with government officials in Mexico.
”We pay taxes to make sure these borders should be open and they need to be open now," and Dedina.
While many people have been working from home over the last 15 months, some people that live on one side of the border and work on another said their commutes have gotten longer.
”It’s actually pretty, pretty bad," said David Lopez, a pedestrian.
WATCH: Mayor Gloria advocates for ending restrictions at U.S.-Mexico border