As pandemic-era restrictions are lifted, the United States has opened its international borders once again to foreign visitors. The assistant press secretary of the White House, Kevin Munoz, announced that, on Nov. 8, the international borders would reopen for fully vaccinated travelers from Europe, Canada and Mexico after a ban put in place by former President Donald Trump back in March 2020.
Europeans, Canadians and Mexicans over the age of 18 will need to show proof of vaccination to enter the country. Additionally, travelers from Europe will also need to present a negative COVID-19 test. Any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization will be accepted upon entry, which includes AstraZeneca, one of the vaccines that the United States does not offer at this current time.
“As vaccines are becoming more widely available, I think that it is reasonable to open international borders for travelers. There is a responsibility for those traveling to protect themselves and others by being vaccinated,” sophomore Penelope Acevedo said.
For Mexicans, this was the opportunity to reunite with family members and leave behind the still-high numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country. News reports showed that the traffic was heavy as many cars were lining up between Tijuana and the San Diego border. Many families had been separated from their loved ones after the borders closed and had been unable to interact with them throughout the pandemic.
The same thing applied to many Canadians who were separated since the start of the pandemic. The borders have reopened as well but the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is encouraging Canadians to stay home. However, many are pushing for a broader reopening of the borders, particularly those with families in the U.S. With Thanksgiving is approaching, families want to reunite to celebrate this holiday together.
Concerning Europe, the pandemic cases are seeing a rise specifically in the Western countries. This is partly due to the lower vaccination rates than expected with a few exceptions such as Portugal and Spain. Certain countries are planning to take drastic measures such as imposing new lockdowns for the unvaccinated. For many Europeans, this lift in restriction means that they will be able to come to visit as tourists in the U.S.
“I think that the U.S. opening their borders to international travelers is a good thing to try to normalize the world again. It is also something that we will start seeing a lot more as people start feeling safer and more comfortable with traveling,” sophomore Adriaan Guerrero said.
Although the U.S. has reopened its borders, about half the world is not vaccinated, which restricts travel. Additionally, there are major delays in visas according to the U.S. Travel Association so even if people are eligible to come in, they still have to wait for their visas. Whether this new policy results in a resurgence of cases is one of the uncertainties that remain to be seen.