Travel restrictions tighten for passengers entering country

'The window for the 24 hours, it's very close or it's very short to get the PCR,' traveler says
Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 01:22:17-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Based on the noise and foot traffic at the baggage claim inside Palm Beach International Airport, it's easy to see that travel has picked up recently.

"We are staying for 12 days," said Torsten Stephen, who landed in South Florida on Monday.

Stephen and his wife flew in from Germany to visit their uncle in Palm Beach Gardens for the first time in more than two years.

"We went on Sunday morning and it was hard to get our results," said Stephen, referring to getting a COVID-19 test.

Travel restrictions tightened on Monday for those entering the country, with concerns growing over Omicron. Inbound international travelers now need to test negative for COVID-19 within one day before entering the U.S. Before the new rules took effect, a negative test was needed within three days of their departure.

"The window for the 24 hours, it's very close or it's very short to get the PCR," Stephen said.

The White House said the new testing rules apply to everyone "regardless of nationality or vaccination status" with the omicron variant now confirmed in more states.

"Every time we think that things are going back to normal it's really not," said Justin Wade, who flew into West Palm Beach from New York.

Wade said these new restrictions will likely cause disruptions, but he believes they're necessary. He experienced the height of the pandemic living in Staten Island, New York.

"It was really strenuous," said Wade. "It was scary. I have a few friends I actually lost from COVID."

The administration said it is also taking another step to keep everyone safe by extending the requirement for all travelers to wear face masks inside airports and on airplanes through March 18, 2022.

For Wade, he said it may be a while before he travels overseas.

"If I do travel internationally, it would probably be like to the Caribbean, but I know for some of the hardest-hit places, it's going to be awhile before I go out there," said Wade.