NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – International travel to the United States resumed Monday for tourists, as historic restrictions were lifted for those who are fully vaccinated.
With the restrictions lifted for the first time in nearly two years, airlines are warning travelers to be prepared for long lines.
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Natalie Duddride of CBS2 Travelers spoke to it didn’t mind. They said they would do anything to finally see their loved ones back on American soil.
âIt was the happiest day of my life,â Jhuly Soares told Duddridge.
Soares was picking up his mother, Maria, at the airport after arriving from Brazil, seeing her for the first time in what she said was an eternity.
Adriano Silva was also delighted to see his mother arriving on the same flight.
âOne year and nine months,â he said. “It’s good, it’s great!”
– Times Square (@TimesSquareNYC) November 8, 2021
For more than 20 months, a travel ban prevented visitors from 33 countries from coming to the United States, but that changed on Monday.
To celebrate, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have teamed up for the first ever commercial double takeoff at London’s Heathrow Airport in New York.
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Airlines should verify that international travelers are fully immunized with vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, not just those approved in the United States. Children under 18 are exempt from this rule.
The land borders with Mexico and Canada are once again open for fully vaccinated tourists, and border security will verify documents on the spot.
âIt’s been 20 long months – today is the day so many of us have been waiting. To our Canadian friends: Welcome to New York! New York Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted on Monday.
It’s been 20 long months – today is the day so many of us have been waiting.
To our Canadian friends: Welcome to New York!
To my fellow New Yorkers: When you see Ontario and Quebec license plates, be sure to greet and greet our neighbors. ??
– Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) November 8, 2021
New York City’s official tourism agency says foreign travelers are the key to recovery.
âIt’s usually around 20% of the volume, but they’re 50% of the spend because they tend to stay longer and spend more while they’re here,â said Chris Heywood, executive vice president of NYC. & Company.
The hotels in the city have already started to see an influx of tourists. Most rooms at the Hyatt Grand Central have sold out.
âWe are seeing bookings, with a majority coming from the UK, Spain, Italy, France and Canada,â Gaeta said. “We continue to see this not only during the holiday season, but also in the 1st and 2nd quarters of next year.”
Airlines are required to check travelers’ vaccination records and match them with identification. If they don’t match, they could be fined.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis joined some travelers on long-awaited trips to the United States. Look for his reporting on CBS2 News at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.