MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The United States reopened its borders to foreign visitors for the first time since the pandemic began 20 months ago.
It’s one of the biggest signs yet that things are returning to normal.
Starting Monday, the U.S. will allow international traveling for the first time in nearly 600 days.
Former President Trump enacted the ban which applied to non-U.S. citizens in 33 countries including Europe, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
In a statement from the White House, international travelers are required to show proof of vaccination, or a negative test within the past 3 days. This is a requirement many are already used to.
“Whenever you have an emergency and you have to go and come back you have to get tested,” traveler, Becky Guevara said.
Travelers, like Guevara, were breathing a sigh of relief Monday, knowing that they will now get the chance to welcome their international family members back into the U.S.
“It was really hard, it was really hard because you have to do all your planning,” Guevara said.
The Memphis International Airport announced a few months back that they would resume non-stop weekly service this summer, to and from Mexico, Cancun specifically. Releasing these restrictions are a win-win for many excursionists and the economy.
Foreign travelers are a big part of the local economy. In 2017, international travelers spent a whopping 934 million dollars in Tennessee.
A lot of that money was spent in Memphis as foreign travelers, mostly Canadians, visited Graceland and other music venues like Beale Street.
WREG reached out to the airport to get more details on the impact it could have here locally. Spokesperson Glen Thomas, told us there are plans to open a COVID testing site inside the airport soon.