SAN FRANCISCO — As California’s holiday travel restrictions go into effect on Jan. 1, travel options will remain limited, with most businesses limited to limited use of airport lounges and some airports restricted to certain modes of transportation.
For those who have made the journey, there will be limited access to many California attractions, including museums, theaters and amusement parks, with the exception of the San Francisco Bay area.
The restrictions also will limit the number of people allowed to travel to California by air, meaning only four people will be allowed to fly to the Golden State.
California’s Airports Authority (CAAA) said it has been monitoring the state’s restrictions since last week, and will continue to do so.
“The CAAA is committed to ensuring that all Californians can safely access all of California’s state-owned air and sea transportation facilities, while at the same time minimizing the impact on air and marine traffic,” the CAAA said in a statement.
“We are also taking a holistic approach to our air traffic management that includes our air quality program, which will help reduce pollution and the threat of aircraft collisions, and our air pollution mitigation program, the largest in the nation, which includes a plan to remove air pollutants from our air and increase the use of renewable energy.”
A majority of California residents are exempt from the restrictions, and all people in the state who have a passport and an Air Force identification card can fly with no restrictions.
Passengers who are visiting California, but don’t have a valid visa will have to obtain a non-resident visa, and residents can get a valid visitor’s visa.
Travelers with a valid U.S. passport will be able to travel, and tourists without a valid passport will have their flights cancelled.
The California Airports Commission (CAAC) is expected to issue a final rule on Jan 3, allowing commercial and recreational passengers to fly on Jan 1, as long as they are traveling in groups of 10 or more.
A small group of passengers traveling with a group of six or fewer people will also be able use airport louvres to travel in groups.
Airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange counties will be closed on Jan 2, while San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties will also close Jan 2.
People in the Pacific Northwest, including the Washington, D.C., area, will also not be able fly.
Airport officials have said the restrictions are meant to protect the public from the effects of climate change, including air pollution.
However, many travelers said they were concerned about the lack of restrictions and would likely travel elsewhere in the country.
“It’s really tough to stay in the city of Sacramento, I’m sure people will do what they can to find something else to do,” said Jennifer A. Schmitz, a San Francisco resident who was visiting her sister-in-law, who is a resident of Northern California.
Her sister- in-law was also visiting the state and was able to get through the restrictions by using the airport, she said.
“I’ve got my kids, I can take them and I’m able to go anywhere I want,” she said, adding that she has been able to book a hotel in nearby Vancouver, British Columbia, where there are hotels and restaurants.
Schmitz said she and her family plan to stay put and continue to travel.
Others, however, said they would consider returning home.
“The air is cleaner now,” said Chris A. Johnson, who was traveling with his wife and two kids in San Francisco.
“I’ve heard it’s not the cleanest air, but I’d like to try it.”