Travel restrictions as new COVID-19 variant emerges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new COVID-19 variant could put a damper on your holiday travel.

This past Friday, President Joe Biden announced air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries.

It’s called the omicron variant, and it’s believed to have originated in South Africa and spread to parts of Europe, according to the CDC.

But with Christmas just weeks away here in the United States, people here in the Mid-South say they have conflicting opinions.

“Concern, a lot of concern,” said Ruth Grose.

Brittany Boyd says, “It’s just like the flu.”

These are just two of the different opinions people say they had when they heard about yet another COVID-19 variant.

It has people here in the mid-South, like Kyle Holder, father of a 5-month-old baby, saying it’s important to be considerate this holiday season.

“We need each other, we need to talk to each other, we need to see family, we need to see each other, and yeah it’s scary, and there’s all the what-ifs, but for me, it goes back to basic personal hygiene,” says Holder.

The CDC recommends vaccination to people five and older before attending large holiday gatherings.

The variant also has people on the fence about traveling at all.

“I won’t be traveling and I do travel a lot. I won’t be traveling,” says Grose.

“My parents just left from out of town, they’re from North Carolina, and that doesn’t concern me. I think again, it comes back to people being smart, my parents were constantly washing their hands,” says Holder.

Ruth Grose says she had COVID-19 back in April of this year, and the experience was enough to make her more cautious.

She says the thought of another possible lockdown is one she supports, but she hopes it doesn’t come to that.

“I don’t wanna go back into the shell that I was in where I didn’t want people to come to my house, not even family members,” she says.

As of Sunday, there have not been any cases of the omicron variant here in the mid-South and the U.S.