Bay Area Indian Population Assesses Impact of Impending COVID Travel Ban – CBS San Francisco

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SAN JOSE (KPIX) — The Biden Administration announced on Friday new travel restrictions from India as that country experiences an out-of-control surge of COVID-19.

“On Tuesday, all non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents will no longer be allowed to enter the United States, it is an indefinite travel ban,” said Marc Casto, president of Leisure Americas at Flight Centre Travel Group. “It’s going to be significant, particularly for those of us in the Bay Area. The Indian population in particular is quite large in this region.”

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Restrictions will not only impact travelers. Anupam Bhatia said it will also likely affect business owners like himself who rely heavily on imported goods from India.

Bhatia, who co-owns Aurum restaurant in Los Altos, said the pandemic has sent the price of ingredients from India skyrocketing. Now he worries the travel restrictions will make it impossible for him to get his hands on spices, rice and oil directly from India.

“Find some substitutes wherever you can and try to source it from different places wherever we can get things,” Bhatia said.

India now accounts for one third of the COVID-19 cases in the world, according to the White House.

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Bhatia said his family and friends in India have also been impacted by the virus. He’s lost nearly 30 people he knows to the virus.

“My family, extended family, what they’re going through is very devastating,” Bhatia said. “Very heartbreaking. What we’re hearing is very tragic.”

Bhatia’s parents traveled from India to the Bay Area just before the latest surge but now he doesn’t know when they’ll be able to return.

“With the pandemic they will have to extend their stay and, with travel restrictions, I don’t know when they will go back,” Bhatia said. “But right now there’s no way I can send them back.”

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The travel restrictions will take place on Tuesday at 9:01 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. For those wishing to travel to India from the U.S., the Department of State has issued a travel advisory to be cautious when entering the country because of the increase in cases.

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