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

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new travel guidelines Friday that ease restrictions for fully-vaccinated travelers.

According to the agency, fully-vaccinated travelers can now travel domestically without getting a COVID-19 test before or after travel and are not required to self-quarantine as long as they aren't exhibiting symptoms of illness.

Those traveling internationally don't need to get tested before travel unless their destination requires it. They must still, however, have a negative result in hand before boarding a flight back to the U.S. and must be tested again three to five days after arrival.

Travel is still being discouraged as the virus rages and vaccinations continue. Local jurisdictions may also have tougher travel restrictions in place.

"I feel a lot easier now traveling, being vaccinated," said Redwood City resident Larry Pettis.

However, Pettis and several other travelers at San Jose Mineta International Airport said they feel it's too soon to ease restrictions.

"I'm not sure if we're ready for that yet, that's just my opinion," said Pettis. "It just seems like all of a sudden there's a rush."

"I mean if we're able to get herd immunity -- obviously I don't know if that's achievable -- but I think you have to maintain it probably at least through the summer," said Deb Besch.

Travelers must still take precautions, including wearing a mask. Unvaccinated California travelers must self-quarantine for seven days after they get a test, according to the state's department of public health. Those who fly into California and don't get tested, must self-quarantine for ten days.

CDC restrictions for unvaccinated travelers also remain and have not changed.

Bay Area airports have reported a steady increase in travel with 217,278 passengers flying through Mineta in February -- up from 208,423 in January.

On Thursday, San Francisco International Airport reported its busiest travel day since the pandemic began with more than 25,000 departing passengers.

Pettis said his wife is ready to take off too but only when they feel it's safe to do so.

"I just told her we'll pick somewhere overseas and go," Pettis said. "As soon as possible, once things go back to normal."

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