The US lifts the COVID-19 travel prohibition and welcomes visitors

Passengers queue at London Heathrow Airport's T3 as the US reopens its borders to UK visitors in a significant boost to the travel sector, in London, on Nov. 8, 2021. (AP)

Travel restrictions from a lengthy list of nations, including Mexico, Canada, and most of Europe, were lifted Monday, allowing visitors to take long-awaited vacations and family members to reunite after more than a year and a half apart due to the pandemic.

Beginning Monday, the United States will admit fully vaccinated travelers at airports and land crossings, removing a COVID-19 restriction imposed by the Trump administration. As long as the traveler has confirmation of immunization and a negative COVID-19 test, the new guidelines allow air travel from previously banned nations. Traveling by land from Mexico and Canada will necessitate proof of immunization but not a test.

Airlines anticipate an increase in passengers from Europe and other parts of the world. According to Cirium, a travel and analytics firm, airlines are expanding flights between the UK and the US by 21% this month compared to last month.

The shift will significantly impact border crossings with Mexico and Canada, where cross-border travel was commonplace before the epidemic struck, and the US shut down all non-essential travel.

The lack of visitors from Mexico has wreaked havoc on malls, restaurants, and Main Street shops in US border towns. Cross-border hockey rivalries were communal traditions on the border with Canada until the epidemic upended them. Churches on both sides of the border hope to welcome parishioners who haven't seen them since the COVID-19 shutdown.

While non-essential air travel was prohibited, loved ones missed holidays, birthdays, and funerals, and they are again ready to reconnect.

Because of pandemic-related border closures, River Robinson's American spouse could not be in Canada for the birth of their newborn boy 17 months ago. She was ecstatic to learn that the United States is reopening its land borders to vaccinated visitors.

Robinson, who resides in St. Thomas, Ontario, said, "I'm planning to take my baby down for the American Thanksgiving." "If everything goes well at the border, I'll try to take him out as much as possible. It's insane to think he has an entire other family he hasn't met yet."

The US will accept passengers who have been appropriately vaccinated with any of the vaccinations recommended for emergency use by the World Health Organization, not just those used in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that the commonly used AstraZeneca vaccination will be approved.

Airlines must verify immunization records and match them to ID for flight passengers, and if they don't, they could face fines of up to roughly $35,000 per infraction. Passengers' information will also be collected to aid contact tracing operations. In the United States, CDC employees will spot-check travelers for compliance. Agents from Customs and Border Protection will inspect immunization proof at land borders.

The announcements come as the COVID-19 outlook in the United States has improved substantially in recent weeks, following the summer seasonal surge that pushed hospitals to the brink in many areas.

Publish : 2021-11-08 16:59:00

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