With Tears, Hugs and Balloons, US Allows Vaccinated Foreign Travelers to Enter

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“There are so many things to remember and organize,” he said as he sat on a bench in the departures terminal, updating his email every few minutes as he waited for his negative coronavirus test result. “It is very stressful, but I know it will be worth it when I see my children and meet my grandchildren,” she said, her eyes filling with tears.

Reyna Martínez, from Ensenada, Mexico, crossed the border from Tijuana to California with her daughter for the first time in two years. She said she used to cross at least four times a year to see friends or go shopping. On Monday he was heading to Long Beach, California, to visit a friend. “Who knows if they could close it again,” he said, speaking in Spanish. “I was worried if I didn’t go now, I might get lost. Here we are.

In Canada, Judy and Wayne Peters were packing their cobalt gray BMW for their 1,520-mile drive south from Kelowna, British Columbia. They own a manufactured home in an exclusive trailer park in Yuma, a city halfway between Phoenix and San Diego.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadian “snowbirds”, typically retired, flock to the United States each year for the winter.

Now that travel restrictions due to the pandemic have been lifted, thousands are already on their way to Florida, Arizona and California, among other hot destinations, with campers and boats in tow.

“It was a mild winter here, so that worked in our favor,” said 69-year-old Peters. “But we are looking forward to being back in a warm and friendly environment with our American friends.”

Miriam Jordan, Matt Stevens, Niraj Chokshi, Kevin Armstrong, Michael Paulson and Max Rivlin-Nadler contributed to reporting.

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