The mayor of Imperial Beach said border issues “are not a priority for the Biden administration.”
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif .– South Bay city leaders are speaking out after the restriction on non-essential travel at the US-Mexico border was extended until August 21. Travel restrictions were first put in place in March 2020 to help stop the spread of COVID-19. They have remained in place despite the reopening of California last month.
Matt Van Vorst, with Mike Hess Brewing Imperial Beach, said: “We get packed almost every night all weekend. We have widened our hours to have breakfast on the weekends.”
Van Vorst said that for them business is booming and the Imperial Beach community has really come together to support their local businesses.
“If you look at Seacoast from top to bottom it starts to look like what it was, tons of activities on weekends, people walking up and down. We certainly noticed the influx of tourism from the top down. “Other parts of the state and the country as well. Things are going well. It almost looks like summer again,” he said.
We spoke to several businesses along the pier who agreed with this sentiment, but let’s say they know other businesses at Las Americas Premium Outlets near San Ysidro have been struggling.
Imperial Beach mayor Serge Dedina said these restrictions must be lifted.
“We have a lot of people who come mostly on weekends to go to the beach and who usually come to spend money in our businesses. This is not happening. This also happens throughout the South Bay, ”said Dedina.
Dedina also said the restrictions affected more than tourism in the South Bay.
“We have to open this border so that we can talk about things like water pollution and solve the problems at the border,” he said.
He calls on the Biden administration to step up and do more to help.
“At this point, I’ve seen a lot more movement in the Trump administration at a higher level to contact me and our city. So we’d love to see this progress in the Biden administration, but it’s clear that they’re not prioritizing the border. Clearly they have other priorities and the US-Mexico border and our well-being is not one of them, ”Dedina said.
Cassandra Sawyer is visiting San Diego from Illinois with her family. She says she comes at least once a year and it’s quieter than she remembers.
“It’s been a lot slower. A lot of the shops seem to be closed. There aren’t a lot of tourists. I can’t imagine what it has been like for businesses here. I’m sure for the sake of business this It would be nice for tourism to resume for the economy. Many places along this strip are owned by families, ”she said.
Currently, the restrictions mainly affect those crossing the border by car. Those who cross the border regularly say it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to wait to get from side to side.
Many businesses along the Imperial Beach Pier claim that most of their business does not originate from the US-Mexico border, so they haven’t really been affected by the restriction, if at all.
They say the Imperial Beach community and other visitors from across the state have really come together to support them.
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