COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – In light of President Joe Biden signing travel restrictions in the United States, a local Columbus woman shared how travel restrictions can make life complicated for international families.
This ban prevents most non-U.S. citizens from entry if they have recently been in South Africa, due to a new strain of COVID in that country. It also extends travel restrictions for Europe, the U.K. and Brazil, in an effort to mitigate COVID-19 transmission.
After receiving word of her father’s declining health in November, Tracy Immelman needed to fly back to her home country of South Africa. South Africa had travel restrictions in place for Americans, so Immelman had some complications in regards to seeing her father before he passed.
“I had to get special permission from the South African Consulate and that took three weeks,” Immelman said. “When you’re dealing with someone who is very sick and you’re trying to get home, that was tough.”
Immelman’s brother also flew to South Africa, but was unable to return back to his home in the U.K. due to travel restrictions. He has three children at home and has been unable to return to them since November.
“It just adds a whole layer of stress in an already emotional situation,” Immelman said. “People get sick, babies get born… there’s things you don’t want to miss, but COVID has added that layer of complication on top of it.”
Immelman says it is a good thing to have these restrictions in place. However, she does add that it makes things complicated for families, especially those like hers, who are spread out across the globe.