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Emerging Omicron variant prompts changes in travel guidelines

Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 18:10:36-05

BALTIMORE — Traveling guidelines at BWI have remained relatively consistently over the last couple of months but with the rise of Omicron cases, changes are underway for international travelers.

"I was supposed to be traveling to the UK on Wednesday but I canceled those plans because of it," said Stephen Goldsmith who was traveling on business Monday morning.

He's among the hundreds, thousands of travelers forced to rethink their plans for international travel within the next few weeks.

The Biden administration implemented new guidelines that require proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of flying into the U.S including those fully vaccinated.

The change comes as the country beefs up surveillance of the Omicron variant where Maryland confirmed it's first case just days ago.

Travelers, despite the inconvenience say they're on board with officials' new policy.

"Absolutely, I'm glad they're doing that. Maybe we can try and keep our numbers down a little bit because of that testing," said Lynne Waranch.

"Its just like going through security. Do you want someone jumping on a plane, taking over the plane or something? So we do that to keep us all safe," said David Palaganas.

According to AAA, while its too early to see a dip in travel due to the Omicron variant, there's been about more than a 30% increase in the purchase of travel insurance because of COVID.

"Should they need to cancel their trip either because someone in their party becomes ill or because they no longer feel comfortable traveling depending on what's going on with the complexities of COVID and the various variants," Ragina Ali with AAA shared.

Some are like Goldsmith canceling their plans to travel abroad while others keep their plans intact despite the looming uncertainty.

"We work together so I'm hoping he gets back safe and sound. I don't want him to get over there and get stuck like 'Hey I can't come back', said Palaganas.