Almost one year after travel restrictions, border businesses still adjusting to stay afloat

Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:50 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It has almost been one year since travel restrictions along the U.S./Mexico border went into effect due to COVID-19. Since then, businesses in border communities have had to adapt just to stay afloat.

This is the case for several businesses in Nogales that greatly rely on border traffic to make a profit. The Nogales Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce said foot traffic since the restrictions went into effect has dropped by 75 percent, a drastic decrease one business is seeing at its restaurant.

German and Ivan Larios say keeping their family-owned restaurant of 28 years “La Cocina La Ley” is crucial.

This time has been so hard. Our sales dropped by 17 percent,” said German. “Less people have the money to go out and eat.”

And 11 months into the pandemic, each month comes with a different challenge.

“We’ve had to let go of some of our employees, like 2 or 3 of them,” said Ivan.

But a bigger challenge has been the drop in people visiting from across the border. And the Larios’ family restaurant has even had to halt buying necessities for their business from Mexico.

“It’s business on both sides of the border... that’s how the money works and right now that money is not coming in as much.”

Alexis Kramer with the Nogales-Chamber of Commerce says the restrictions not only hurt Mexican tourists, but also people who come from Canada in the northern border “which is a huge driving point since we are a hot bed for tourist in the winter months.”

As for the Larios family, just having their business open this far into the pandemic brings a sigh of relief.

“As of for now, we’re happy to still do take out, have outdoor dining, anything to keep us running,” said German

He stays optimistic that this will all end soon, especially with COVID-19 vaccines rolling out.

“But I have faith that my business will survive, and that all of this will pass,” he said.

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