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Long Lines Expected At Border, Airports As COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Ease

Long lines are expected at land ports of entry and airports as travel restrictions ease to enter the U.S. on Monday, Forbes reported.

Foreign travelers flying into the U.S. will present their COVID-19 vaccination documentation to airlines instead of federal officials, according to Forbes. Travelers were warned about long lines on Monday as the U.S. opens to non-essential travel, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastain said.

“It’s going to be a bit sloppy at first,” Bastain said, according to Forbes. “I can assure you, there will be lines, unfortunately, but we’ll get it sorted out.”

Air travelers could see wait times of up to eight hours if numbers resemble pre-pandemic numbers, Société Internationale de Télécommunicattions Aéronauttiques Head of Technology for the Americas Shery Stein said, Forbes reported.

“The airlines right now are the ones seen as being the ultimate decision-makers, in what approach they choose to take in order to meet the requirements,” Stein said, according to Forbes. “Every airline is doing its own thing, they’re finding their own way.”

Travelers at land ports of entry are waiting in miles-long lines at the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico, the New York Post reported. A reportedly overwhelming number of vehicles waited in a queue at the U.S.-Mexico border, causing Mexican officials to implement a system including setting up portable bathrooms along the route.

“DHS’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is working to prevent long lines at land POEs and ferry terminals as normal travel resumes,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement. “However, long lines are expected in the initial days following pent-up demand, and CBP will adjust resources as needed while continuing to facilitate lawful trade and travel and protect our national security.”

Mexican currency exchanges were also short on funds ahead of the border reopening, according to the NYP. A similar scene unfolded along the U.S.-Canada border where lines of cars and motorhomes lined up waiting to cross.

Adults are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the U.S. for non-essential travel and minors traveling with vaccinated adults are exempt from the order, DHS officials said in a call with reporters Tuesday.

“CBP [Customs and Border Protection] is anticipating an increase in travel volumes and wait times to cross the border,” a DHS official said. “Travelers should be prepared with the correct information and documentation to improve and expedite their travel experience.”

Foreign travelers need a passport, a visa where required, and proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, according to the DHS officials.

People who attempt to enter the U.S. between legal ports of entry will still be subjected to expulsion under Title 42 restrictions, according to DHS officials.

Towns along the southern border suffered from a decrease in tourism as border officials encountered more than 1.7 million migrants attempting illegal entry in the fiscal year 2021, according to the NYP. CBP officials were assigned to check vaccine documentation at ports of entry, and any government-approved vaccine would be acceptable.

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