Travelers arrive at SFO, families reconnected as U.S. travel ban lifted

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The United States has finally lifted its international travel ban due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing people to enter through airports, including the San Francisco International Airport where travelers from India found it great to land on Monday.

“We have been talking through Facetime but it is never the feel factor. So we are really feeling, after touching down here, great relief,” Prakash Srivastava of Delhi, who arrived in the Bay Area to meet his daughter and grandkid after a couple of years, said, as reported by ABC7.

“I am feeling relieved. It is a great relief because we have been stuck. For two years, we couldn’t visit,” he said.

Many have booked flights following the lifting of the ban.

“We have a brother who has become a grandfather. So he wants to visit his daughter and look at his granddaughter for the first time. So it is a big moment for them,” Anurana Saluja said, who has been from Delhi for a visit.

But not all travels are for family reconnections alone. There was one traveler who said he came to the U.S. for a company transaction.

“It feels great because now I can serve more to the company and do more work on the business. The business was suffering,” Rohit Rohia of Delhi, who took the first flight to the states, said.

To enter the states, travelers must show full vaccination documentation and a negative COVID-19 test result, but these requirements seemed too much for some travelers.

“I think it’s great that we have lifted the travel ban but I don’t think there should be vaccination restrictions of where people go on this earth,” one of the travelers who requested anonymity said.

Airlines must inspect the vaccination proof of the travelers and match it to their identification. A $35, 000 fine will be faced by those airlines for every violation.

There are 600 more international travelers expected by the SFO duty manager as compared to Monday last week.