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Wilmington couple in South Africa make new travel plans to get home

As governments strengthen travel restrictions, those four days could be the difference between home for the holidays and stuck in South Africa
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 6:04 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Travel restrictions related to the new COVID-19 variant don’t currently apply to United States citizens trying to get back home, even if they’re coming from one of the eight African nations on the restriction list.

But some Americans, including one Wilmington couple, are running into some issues with getting back home.

Martin Green and his wife Lou have been traveling around Africa for a few weeks now, but when they heard the headline news about the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, they started to rethink how the end of their trip would play out.

“My wife and I travel quite a bit, so we decided to sit it out for a few days and not panic,” Green said. “We were supposed to leave on the 6th, now we’re leaving on December 2nd.”

After a canceled flight back home, Green called the airline to reschedule their flight, even if it meant taking a new route. “We really aren’t stuck. One flight was cancelled, but we have a flight scheduled on Thursday.”

He noted there was a little bit of panic throughout Cape Town when the news of the new variant went mainstream, but for the most part, it really hasn’t changed anything in their day-to-day lives, even as tourists during a global pandemic.

“Every store you walk into you have to have a mask, every store you walk into they spray your hands with sanitizer, every store you walk into they take your temperature,” Green said.

Now the Green family is headed to Amsterdam at the end of the week and they’re prepared for testing and isolation if need be before heading to New York City to make it home to Wilmington.

“We figured we were supposed to leave on Monday, but now we’re leaving on Thursday. We’ve been here six weeks — hate to cut it four days short,” Green said. “We haven’t gotten out yet, but I just feel like there was a bit of panic too early.”

As governments strengthen travel restrictions, those four days could be the difference between being home for the holidays and being stuck in South Africa.

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