Restrictions Ease for Vaccinated Travelers; Traffic Swells at Bay Area Airports

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new travel guidelines Friday that ease restrictions for fully-vaccinated travelers. Maria Medina reports. (4-2-21)

Video Transcript

- A live look at Bay Area airports, where tonight, travelers are bidding farewell to some of the toughest public health restrictions in modern history. But as KPIX5's Maria Medina reports from Mineta San Jose, there is a catch. Maria?

MARIA MEDINA: And those loosened travel restrictions only apply to those who are fully vaccinated. And right now, that amounts to just 15% of the US population. It's the first time [? Kathy ?] Anderson's seen her daughter in more than a year.

- I love you, too.

MARIA MEDINA: [? Kathy ?] isn't vaccinated for COVID-19, and according to the state's Department of Public Health, she should get tested and self-quarantine for seven days. But those who are fully vaccinated, like Larry Pettis--

LARRY PETTIS: I feel a lot easier, now, traveling being vaccinated.

MARIA MEDINA: --just got the OK from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to travel domestically without getting tested or self-quarantining, as long as they continue to take precautions, including wearing a mask. Fully vaccinated international travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test in hand before boarding a flight to the US and test again three to five days after their return.

LARRY PETTIS: I'm not sure we're ready for that yet. That's just my opinion.

MARIA MEDINA: But travelers we spoke to say they feel it is too soon to ease restrictions.

LARRY PETTIS: Well, it just seems like all of a sudden, it's a rush.

DEB BESCH: I mean, if we're able to get herd immunity-- you know, obviously, I don't know if that's achievable. But I think you have to maintain it, you know, probably at least through the summer.

MARIA MEDINA: Bay Area airports report a recent steady increase in travel, with 217,000 people traveling through Mineta in February-- up nearly 10,000 from the month before. SFO reported its busiest travel day during the pandemic just yesterday, with more than 2,500 departing passengers. Larry says his wife is ready to take off, too, but only once they feel it's safe to do so.

LARRY PETTIS: So I just told her, you know, we'll just pick somewhere overseas and go as soon as possible, once things is back to normal.

MARIA MEDINA: And remember, to be considered fully vaccinated, that means two weeks after your final dose. [? Ken? ?]

- Maria Medina, reporting live from San Jose. Thanks, Maria.