Emotional reunions after US-Canada Border opens for travel

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – People from around the world can finally visit the US again for non-essential travel, as long they are vaccinated.

It’s been more than a year and a half since recreational travel was blocked at the start of the pandemic.

The Department of Homeland Security announced the changes to travel back in October. For many Americans and Canadians with lives on both sides of the border, this will give them the chance to reunite after months apart.

“I got to the border at a quarter after midnight and I got there with a lot of other people which I wasn’t expecting. As soon as I was through and across I was like screaming and clapping and doing a little dance in my seat,” said Janet Simoni, a Canadian national.

It was a special day today for thousand of travelers like Simoni, a Canadian national who is married to an American, Lincoln Simoni. She said it was easier to visit each other before COVID.

“We would see each other every other weekend, so we sorta had to get through the weeks but it’s a whole other thing where you don’t see your partner for months and months on end,” said Simoni.

After more than 600 days, fully vaccinated international tourists are able to visit the US by land and with a negative COVID test if they are flying into the states.

“First, the individual will need to have appropriate travel documentation. They’ll need to tell us what the purpose of their travel is and if it’s not essential travel, they will need to verbally attest to their vaccination status,” said Christopher Perry, Director of Field Operation, CBP Detroit Field Office.

Perry says the department is preparing for the expected spike in visitors across all border crossings.

“Making sure that we have our ports of entry appropriately staffed and resources and I can tell you, I’ve been out here at the border. Since early this morning and we have not had significant wait times right now,” said Perry.

Simoni says that with restrictions eased, they have big plans ahead.

“We are planning a proper wedding celebration for this coming summer so all of our friends and family can actually attend and celebrate with us.”

A statement from the Department of Homeland Security says people traveling for certain reasons like trade, emergencies, or for public health work are not required to be vaccinated until January 2022.

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