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Pressure Builds On President Biden's Administration To Loosen International Travel Ban Into The Country

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- COVID-19 restrictions could soon be changing when it comes to international travel.

Some rules have kept loved ones apart for more than a year, CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported Thursday.

We're seen long lines at airports again, as vaccinations offer many a chance to get back to what they used to do, like travel.

But for Lee Comeau, being fully vaccinated is not enough for her fiancé to travel to the U.S. That's because he's a British citizen.

"The terrible part is that we were supposed to get married 30 days after the first travel ban went into effect, and it was only supposed to be for 30 days, so we were like all right, we can just make it, push the wedding back a week and we'll be fine. Here we are, 16 months later," Comeau said.

She's part of a community that has been pushing for an end to the travel ban on international visitors.

"We're not tourists. We're not going for a holiday or going for a vacation. We just want spend time with the people who mean the most to us," Comeau said.


President Joe Biden's administration has maintained the restrictions throughout the pandemic. They prevent travelers from the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, and dozens of other countries from coming in. Last month, Biden was asked about this not only by a reporter, but by German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

"I'm waiting to hear from our folks and our COVID team as to when that should be done," Biden said.

"I did raise the issue, yes, and got the same answer that the president just gave you just now," Merkel said.

Now, according to multiple reports, the Biden administration is planning to require foreign travelers to be vaccinated as part of a new system that'll be implemented once the ban is lifted, though it's not clear when.

Airlines for America, an airline industry lobbying group, welcomed the news, saying, "Countless American families have not seen loved ones in nearly two years, if not longer. We are encouraged to learn that the administration is identifying potential solutions to reopening international travel."

In New York, the state announced the launch of the Excelsior Pass Plus. It'll let people upload their vaccination credentials to travel overseas, as local leaders push to rebuild the all-important tourism industry.

But for Comeau, it's more than that.

"It's family. There's parents who haven't met their babies. As a father, you haven't met your child for however many months and they're growing up before your eyes. There's grandparents who haven't met their grandchildren, and couples who haven't seen each other in a year, two years, and it really takes its toll," Comeau said.

Travel experts say there is a lot of interest among Americans when it comes to flying overseas, especially to Europe, but for now it's a one-way market, with people there not allowed in.

CBS2's Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.

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