US Ends International Travel Ban

Samantha Ramirez, Writer

In early 2020, Coronavirus was quickly sweeping the nation, and former President Trump declared a state of national emergency as well as banned international travelers from entering the United States. American travelers were allowed to leave and return as they pleased, however those from outside the US were completely barred from entering. The travel ban was largely criticized by European leaders who accused the former president of not consulting them prior to making the decision of the ban. This meant that many non-American people would become separated from their American relatives, given their inability to travel to the US. Given the state of the world, many missed out important family milestones such as weddings, birthdays, and funerals.


This was especially prevalent for Bethzabe Galvan, 11, who said, “The ban affected my family a lot, It prevented me from seeing my aunt who visits from El Salvador every holiday season”. However, her family’s troubles did not end there, Galvan continued, “My grandpa makes regular trips to El Salvador to see my cousins, it was sad seeing him wanting to, but not be able to connect to his grandkids in both parts of the world”. Given the news on the ban, Galvan followed, “I’m excited that the ban has been lifted and that I’ll finally be able to see more family after so long”. 


On the other hand, some people have not been extended the privilege of seeing their family just yet. English teacher, Ms. Kasner said, “I usually go to Europe every summer because I have friends and family in the Czech Republic, so I haven’t been able to go for the last two years so I’m hoping I’ll be able to go this summer”. Yet, the bad news continued, Ms. Kasner followed, “The Czech Republic just went up to Level 4 on Risk Assessment for COVID-19, so we’ll see what happens”.


            Bailey Ramirez, 11,suffered the same disappointment. Ramirez was to visit Mexico for her cousin’s wedding, but due to travel restrictions she was not able to go. She stated, “I think we were mostly emotionally impacted because it was a cousin that we rarely get to see and we weren’t able to be there on such an important day”.


However, on November 8th, the travel ban was lifted and travelers from over 30 countries including the UK, Brazil, India, and many other countries, are now able to travel to the United States. Though a vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test will be required, exceptions will be made for those who do not have vaccines accessible to them. For those who do not have vaccines widely accessible to them such as in Egypt, Armenia, Haiti, etc.,the US is allowing them to travel under the circumstance that they are vaccinated within 60 days upon arriving. These measures are of course being taken to ease the spread of Coronavirus; considering the surge of travel that will be occurring, especially now that the holiday season is approaching. The ending of the ban will also stand to benefit hotels, airlines, and the tourism industry. More importantly, the lifting of the ban will mean countless heartwarming reunions between those who have been distanced from their international family members for over a year. 

Our Downey High community seems to agree; resident Botany and Link Crew Leadership teacher Ms. Lee had this to say, “ I think it’s great that travel is allowed again especially if it allows for many families to be reunited”.