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Travelers rush to get home before new Europe travel ban begins

PDX International Flights
PDX International Flights(KPTV)
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 1:16 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A new travel ban will begin Friday at midnight that will restrict travel from 26 European countries to the United States.

Although the ban excludes U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents as well as spouses, children, siblings and legal guardians of citizens or residents, and others including some visa holders and members of the armed forces, some people in those groups were still scrambling to get home in case international travel gets even more complicated.

Patrick Hanihan booked a flight home early from Namibia for that reason.

“I feel that even though I’m a U.S. citizen, I still would’ve been prevented to get here because the airlines most likely would not be operating very long, they can’t operate empty,” Hanihan said.

Hanihan was supposed to remain in Namibia for several more weeks. His last flight home departed from Amsterdam and he told FOX 12 that he’s happy he made the decision he did.

“I noticed that the illnesses in Europe were as bad as they were in China when I left for Namibia, so I figured, this is getting bad,” Hanihan said.

The new ban, on top of current restrictions from China and Iran, will prevent people from these 26 countries, known as the Schengen Zone, from entering the United States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Shannon Ernst told FOX 12 that her daughter, Victoria, is en route back from Luxembourg where she was working as an international attorney, and she is scheduled to arrive at PDX Thursday night. It wasn’t cheap to find a quick flight back.

“It was $2,300,” Ernst said.

But Ernst said her daughter thought it was worth it to avoid getting stuck there if bans happen to get more restrictive.

“She didn’t know if she would in fact be trapped over there. I mean, things are changing minute by minute, hour by hour,” Ernst said.

Hannah Mudge was in Portland from Calgary, Canada for a conference that ended up getting canceled at the Oregon Convention Center on the day it was supposed to begin – Thursday.

“Now, I just want to go back home just in case they close borders since I am going back to Canada, Mudge said. “I just want to prevent anything bad from happening, I don’t want to get stuck here.”