It's a Milestone Day for Travelers to the US

Pandemic restrictions lifted for those who are vaccinated from abroad
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 8, 2021 6:50 AM CST
It's a Milestone Day for Travelers to the US
Passengers walk through Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City, Oct. 27, 2020.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – The US lifted restrictions Monday on travel from a long list of countries including Mexico, Canada, and most of Europe, setting the stage for reunions nearly two years in the making and providing a boost for the airline and tourism industries decimated by the pandemic. The rules that go into effect Monday allow air travel from a series of countries from which it has been restricted since the early days of the pandemic—as long as the traveler has proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test, per the AP. Those crossing land borders from Mexico or Canada will require proof of vaccination but no test.

Airlines are now preparing for a surge in travel after the pandemic and resulting restrictions caused international travel to plunge. The US will accept travelers who have been fully vaccinated with any of the shots approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, not just those in use in the US. That's a relief for many in Canada, where the AstraZeneca vaccine is widely used. But millions of people around the world who were vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V, China’s CanSino, or others not approved by the WHO won’t be able to travel to the US.

The change will have a profound effect on the US borders with Mexico and Canada, where traveling back and forth was a way of life until the pandemic hit and the US shut down nonessential travel. Malls, restaurants, and Main Street shops in US border towns have been devastated by the lack of visitors from Mexico. On the boundary with Canada, cross-border hockey rivalries that were community traditions were upended. Churches that had members on both sides of the border are hoping to welcome parishioners they haven't seen in nearly two years.

(Read more pandemic stories.)

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