SAN JOSE (KPIX) – The Biden administration announced new travel restrictions from India on Friday as that country experiences a runaway spike in COVID-19.
“Not all US citizens or permanent residents will be banned from entering the US on Tuesday. This is a perpetual travel ban,” said Marc Casto, president of Leisure Americas at Flight Center Travel Group. “It will matter, especially to those of us in the Bay Area. The Indian population in particular is quite large in this region. “
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Restrictions don’t just affect travelers. Anupam Bhatia said this is also likely to affect business owners like him who rely heavily on imported goods from India.
Bhatia, co-owner of Aurum restaurant in Los Altos, said the pandemic had skyrocketed the price of ingredients from India. Now he fears that travel restrictions will make it impossible for him to get his hands on spices, rice and oil straight from India.
“Find some substitutes wherever you can and try to get them from different places wherever we can get things,” said Bhatia.
According to the White House, India now accounts for a third of the world’s COVID-19 cases.
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Bhatia said his family and friends in India have also been affected by the virus. He has lost nearly 30 people he knows to the virus.
“My family, extended family, what they are going through is very devastating,” said Bhatia. “Very heartbreaking. What we hear is very tragic. “
Bhatia’s parents traveled to the Bay Area from India just before the last climb, but now he doesn’t know when they can return.
“With the pandemic they have to extend their stay and with travel restrictions I don’t know when they will return,” Bhatia said. “But at the moment there is no way I can send her back.”
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The travel restrictions take place on Tuesday at 9:01 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. For those planning to travel to India from the US, the State Department has issued a travel advisory to be careful when entering due to the increase in cases.