SD Chamber of Commerce Prepares to Extend Travel Restrictions to Land Borders – NBC 7 San Diego


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The San Diego Chamber of Commerce is bracing for what they fear will be another bad news next week when they expect the White House to extend restrictions on non-essential travel to ports in land entrance.

The restrictions have been in place on a monthly basis since March 2020. They are expected to expire around the third week of each month, but so far during the pandemic, the restrictions have been extended for almost 19 consecutive months.

Business owners along the border have reported that long wait times at ports of entry have caused them staffing problems. Many of their workers stopped showing up or had to endure four to five hour trips each way during the height of the pandemic. Not only has staffing been a problem, but the loss of travelers and border traffic has also cost many restaurant and store owners lost profits.

Now the San Diego Chamber of Commerce says it wants specific action on what the region should be aiming for in order to ease or lift the restrictions. Is the federal government pushing the region to have more vaccinations or fewer cases of COVID? They also want to participate in the dialogue with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on how they can ensure that any new rules put in place, like proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests, can be planned.

“Whenever the restrictions are lifted, what’s the plan? You know, how are CBP officers at land entry points going to apply this plan to verify negative COVID tests or proof of vaccination? Do they have the infrastructure and the staff to actually implement such restrictions? Asked Kenia Zamarripa of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce.

In early November, the White House will allow almost all foreign nationals to travel to the United States as long as they have proof of vaccination. Zamarripa said easing air restrictions is frustrating for people who cannot afford to fly.

“There’s a new booming business in Baja regarding private jets carrying people from Tijuana and Ensenada to San Diego because of this, and you’re also looking at the 1% that has the ability to buy that flight, like a 15-minute flight, to come to San Diego for tourism or business. That’s up to them to decide, ”she said.

In a statement to NBC 7, a spokesperson for CBP said, “CBP will continue to work closely with international partners to determine how to resume normal travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

To see the full interview on border restrictions and their impact on the San Diego area, tune in to Speaking Politics on October 17 at 9 a.m.

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