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Longer waits expected as border opens to vaccinated travelers

Chula Vista resident Salomón Maya has been trying to get to his cousin’s wedding since April 2020.

The ceremony has been postponed twice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this weekend the nuptials were finally taking place in Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California.

But with travel restrictions easing on Monday morning — and the potential for a rush of folks like himself eager to cross — Maya wondered whether he’ll be waiting until April 2022 when he tries to get back into the United States after the wedding.

“Cool. You picked the weekend the border finally reopens,” Maya, 41, joked about his cousin’s timing.

The long-anticipated reopening of the San Ysidro Port of Entry to tourism and family visits for travelers who are fully vaccinated comes after almost 20 months of restrictions because of the pandemic — and just before the busy holiday shopping season.

Border communities on both sides heaved a sigh of relief — while at the same time bracing for what could be very heavy traffic, long waits and crowds at the land ports.

“For too long, restrictions at our border have separated families and devastated businesses that depend on cross-border trade,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.