U.S. Vacations: International travellers flooded after 600 days

 Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A rush of international travellers headed into the United States as the COVID-19 travel ban ended and people from dozens of countries begin flooding in, more than 600 days since they were barred from entry.

That’s more than 86 weeks. Nearly 20 months. Enough time for grandchildren to be born, or for couples to lose track of the number of nights they fell asleep to FaceTime calls with their partner. Long enough to lose hope in a U.S. vacation or honeymoon after having to delay plans over and over.

Lines began forming at the Canada and Mexico borders well before daybreak, and eager travellers boarded flights from Europe, including dueling departures from London’s Heathrow airport. The U.S.-Mexico border is typically the world’s busiest border crossing, with about 350 million people crossing annually.

The new U.S. entry requirements require foreign air passengers to test negative for the coronavirus before boarding a plane to the country and, if they are 18 or older, show proof of full vaccination. Travellers entering the U.S. on land or by ferry for nonessential reasons must show proof of vaccination. Although federal officials had warned of the potential for long lines at entry points, there seemed to be few delays as visitors arrived by land and air.

It’s a long-awaited moment for travellers from more than 30 countries. The U.S. initiated its first COVID-19-related travel ban on China in February 2020. By the end of March, it had added travel bans on the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iran and 26 countries in the European Schengen Area. Brazil, India and South Africa were later added to the list.

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