TIJUANA (Border Report) — The Mexican border state of Baja California has eclipsed the 70 percent COVID-19 vaccination rate and now enjoys herd immunity, enough to meet the United States’ requisite for doing away with border restrictions, state Health Secretary Alonso Pérez Rico said.

But a Department of Homeland Security official in Mexico City says the restrictions won’t be lifted because cases are on the upswing north of the border where vaccination rates have slowed.

At the same time, COVID-19 cases in cities such as Tijuana are up slightly in recent weeks and the first confirmed case of the Delta variant has surfaced.

“We knew this was going to happen because there have been so many of these cases in San Diego,” Pérez Rico said.

In spite of this, it’s not enough to worry Pérez Rico.

“For me, it shows our vaccination rate has reached a point where opening the border would not be a risk,” he said.

The secretary of health added that if the restrictions are lifted by the United States, they would keep in place certain restrictions, such as face coverings and social distancing.

“It’s almost certain that on July 21 there won’t be any opening, this would’ve been published and they would’ve given us guidelines already.”

Since March 21 of last year, essential travel restrictions have been the norm prohibiting border crossings for shopping or leisure activities.

This has led many businesses, just north of the border, to shut their doors due to the lack of customers.

According to the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, 90 percent of all its shoppers are from Mexico.

In Tijuana, where visitors and tourists are allowed to cross the border freely, many shops and restaurants believe if the restrictions are lifted, even more people will visit on a consistent basis.

“When they do open the border not everyone will be able to cross, they will say, ‘you know what, let’s just allow this group or those people, but not the rest,'” Pérez Rico said.

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