U.S. reopens borders to fully vaxxed travelers

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Following over a year and a half of strict border restrictions, the United States on Monday removed travel bans on several countries including Canada, Mexico and many parts of Europe.

The country has accepted fully vaccinated people starting Monday in both airports and seaports, lifting the prolonged ban that was implemented during the former Trump administration. Several countries that were restricted entry to the U.S. are now allowed provided that the travel has his or her vaccination documentation and a negative result of a COVID-19 test. Those who travel from Mexico and Canada must present their vaccination proof but no virus test.

More travelers are expected to flock on airlines from Europe and other countries. The United Kingdom-U.S. flight has in fact increased by 21 percent this month as compared to last month, according to Cirium, a travel and analytics body.

The lifting of the ban will have a great impact especially on Mexico and Canada borders as travelers used to take the border as a way of life before the pandemic.

Passengers wait to board on a United Airlines flight, seen in background, for Newark, NJ, at Fiumicino’s Leonardo Da Vinci airport, near Rome, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. The U.S. is lifting restrictions on travel from a long list of countries including Mexico, Canada and most of Europe, allowing tourists to make long-delayed trips and family members to reconnect with loved ones after more than a year and a half apart because of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The absence of visitors from Mexico has been badly felt by malls, dining establishments and Main Street shops in the U.S. border towns. The pandemic has also devastated cross-border hockey competitions that were community traditions on the U.S. and Canada borders. Religious bodies with members from both sides of the borders are now anticipating meeting again with parishioners they have not seen due to border restrictions.

The change in the restrictions will also allow families and loved ones to reconnect after a long period of being separated – even on special occasions like birthdays, AP News reported.

Among the residents that have been affected by the border shut down is River Robinson’s American partner who was not able to go to Canada to see her and their newborn baby.

“I’m planning to take my baby down for the American Thanksgiving,” said Robinson. “If all goes smoothly at the border I’ll plan on taking him down as much as I can. Is crazy to think he has a whole other side of the family he hasn’t even met yet.”