New travel restrictions: How will they affect your Christmas plans?

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you have been planning on flying overseas during the holidays, there are new restrictions from the Biden administration which include less time to test for COVID-19 before you can board a plane returning to the U.S.

“This applies to citizens and foreigners vaccinated and unvaccinated,” said Scott Keyes from Scott’s Cheap Flights.

International travelers, including Americans, have been able to test negative three days before boarding a flight back to the U.S.

Now that time has been shorted to just one day before the flight.

Keyes says that a rapid antigen test can be used, which provides results typically within 15 minutes. He also says those tests tend to be less expensive and a traveler can even take the test with them.

“So if you’re taking a trip to say, Cancun, you can actually bring it with you and test as long as it’s one of the approved tests,” said Keyes. “And the cost is now covered by insurance, per the announcement from the Biden administration.”

Keyes says there may be fewer people who want to try foreign travel though, especially with concern that if someone tests positive that person would have to isolate in another country.

“There’s probably going to be more domestic travel during Christmas than there would have been in an alternate universe where the omicron variant did not emerge,” said Keyes.

He says interest in booking domestic flights has increased 25 percent in the last week, so he says airports may be more crowded over the holiday than you may have been expecting. That is assuming many people are still willing to fly now even within the U.S.

Dr. Lawton Davis with the Coastal Health District told WSAV this week he would “be concerned and cautious.”

“I personally would not get on an airplane, I’m not flying anywhere this holiday season,” said Dr. Davis.

Keyes says for those that do want to fly, there are still a list of safety precautions in place, including mask mandates at airports and aboard planes. He also says that planes have made sure they have updated ventilation systems in place.

Keyes says overseas and domestic travel is still possible but says it does depend on what makes the individual traveler comfortable.

“Because folks just might feel more comfortable traveling later than right now,” said Keyes.

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