DENVER — On Monday, the United States eased restrictions for travelers from more than 30 countries; one woman from Wales has already planned a trip to see her fiancé in Colorado.
"The buildup and waiting for that announcement that was coming to say, 'Yes, the United Kingdom was allowed back to the United States'... when it was announced on the news, it was very emotional," Rebecca Roberts said.
Roberts hasn't seen her fiancé in Pueblo since 2019, and travel bans interrupted all of her planned trips during 2020.
"We've actually had a couple of trips canceled because of all this. I was going to be coming for Thanksgiving of last year," she said.
The travel ban was in place for more than 18 months. Now, international air travelers must have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. There are exemptions for young travelers and people traveling from a country with low vaccine availability.
Over the past year, the hashtag "love is not tourism" became popular among couples separated by travel bans — a public cry to global leaders to consider solutions for reunions.
"I have to hold back the tears a little bit. I love him so much, and he has made such a difference in my life and in my family's lives. Being this far apart is physically painful," Roberts said.
Denver International Airport is predicting a huge surge now that restrictions have been lifted. Visitors from previously banned countries represented nearly 40% of total inbound travel to Denver, according to the airport.
Roberts has already book her flight for December.
"Waking up and it being on the news and all these people talking about flying into America and seeing their loved ones, all I'm thinking is I'm counting down. Five weeks, two days and I'll be landing there," she said as tears welled in her eyes.