SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The slogan for San Ysidro is “Commerce Beyond Borders,” a philosophy that’s been put to the test since the pandemic started and essential travel restrictions were put in place almost 17 months ago.
The restrictions have limited the number of people who can cross the border for things such as shopping. And, they have crippled border communities such as San Ysidro that depend on clientele from south of the border.
Close to 200 businesses have gone out of business since the new border policy went into effect, according to the area’s chamber of commerce.
As a way to minimize further economic decay, the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce says it’s taking control of its members’ destiny and “cannot begin to recover with the discriminatory border restrictions in place.”
The Chamber says it has devised a recovery plan to use during the interim and when restrictions are lifted.
It’s called “A San Ysidro Optimized, Simplified, Quantified and Beautified.”
“We’ve been affected uniquely versus anywhere else because of the border restrictions,” said Jason Wells, Chief Executive Office for the chamber. “Along San Ysidro Boulevard, we know 95% of our clientele normally comes from Mexico. We want to help diversify so when things like border restrictions happen, it’s not as impactful.”
According to Wells, their plan will tackle four separate areas to get businesses back in shape.
“We’re going to optimize, create San Ysidro Boulevard with an internet backbone, go into businesses to see if their products are apt to be sold on the internet. If it is, we can show them which platforms to use,” Wells said.
Street Cleaning and beautification is another area it plans to tackle.
“We’ve actually augmented our street cleaning program. We have our border art community going block to block beautifying San Ysidro Boulevard within the next year,” he said. “We’re bringing back our pedicab industry to help people get around San Ysidro. We’ll have more green areas to capture the CO coming from the port of entry.”
Wells says all they need now is for the restrictions to be lifted.
“We’ve never figured our border would be used as a political pawn,” he says. “Unfortunately, that’s what we’re suffering.”