(New York) Long lines at border crossings, families eager to reunite: The United States on Monday reopened its borders for travelers from Mexico, Canada and Europe who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, ending 20-month restrictions that have been particularly severely felt in other areas. The world.
The “travel ban” imposed by former US President Donald Trump in early 2020, and then confirmed by his successor Joe Biden, separated friends and family, disrupted business relationships and personal plans, and became a symbol of the uprisings caused by the pandemic.
In the border town of Tijuana, Mexico, many travelers wait for hours in the early hours of the morning on foot and in the car, waiting for the San Isidro border crossing for unwanted passengers. Mask is a must for everyone.
Mexican authorities are anticipating heavy traffic jams at the border, where the waiting time will reach four o’clock.
On the other side of the country, at the Canadian border, is the same view from the first hours as travelers return to the Lacol Post in Quebec and the Thousand Islands Bridge in Ontario.
“Waiting since 11:30 pm last night,” Scott Carl told AFP, his yellow jacket behind him, leading motorists toward the bridge entrance.
Among travelers, many “snowbirds” are fleeing the harsh Canadian winter for mild Florida.
The first British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights from London-Heathrow are scheduled to land in New York-JFK at 11:30 a.m. local time.
Donald Trump imposed restrictions on travel from China in February 2020, extended to European countries in the Schengen area on March 13 and a few days later to Great Britain and Ireland, with most of the land borders with Mexico and Canada closed.
With all these countries, the density of human and economic exchange is enormous.
“It simply came to our notice then […]”I want to see my son in New York,” Britain’s Allison Henry, 63, told AFP before leaving London.
A total of 3,688 flights between the United Kingdom and the United States were planned in November, 21% higher than in October, but 49% lower than before the epidemic, according to special agency Sirium.
At the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, Charlotte Boulois, 27, was delighted: “We are happy to travel, resume tourism and see our friends again”.
“I’m going to New York, we’re going to visit places with my husband, to see our friends who have been there for years and have not seen because of COVID-19”, adds this prep at the pharmacy.
Paul Syracuse, 34, has not been to the United States for about two years, and he travels regularly for professional reasons. He goes to New York for a friend’s restaurant resume, and then goes to Chicago for an investment fund that will employ him, he explained.
Thefts have increased
Many families on both sides of the Atlantic are eagerly awaiting this reunion. Traveling to Europe from the United States since last summer has certainly been possible, but there is no guarantee that foreigners and holders of certain visas living on American soil will return home.
Airlines have increased the number of Atlantic flights and used larger aircraft. The lifting of these sanctions is a real breather for the sector.
More than thirty countries have been affected by the lifting of the travel ban. But entry is not completely free and passengers are supervised.
For those arriving by plane, the United States is asking for proof of the vaccine, which includes testing within three days of departure and the airline’s contact tracing system.
For the overland route, the restrictions will be lifted in two stages.
People who come in from Monday for reasons they think are unnecessary can be skipped, for example by family or tourists, if they are vaccinated. People who come for compelling reasons – like truck drivers – are an exception.
From January, the vaccination obligation applies to all visitors, regardless of the reason for their admission.
According to U.S. health officials, all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently approved for Astrogenene, Johnson & Johnson, Modernna, Pfizer / BioNtech, Indian Kovacin and the Chinese vaccine for emergency synoform and Sinovac. .