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Waiting For Grandpa: The South Coast Toddler Who Still Hasn't Met His Grandparents Because Of The Pandemic Travel Ban

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KCLU News
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17-month-old Remy Hanbury is still waiting to meet his Australian grandparents who cannot travel because of COVID restrictions

Restricted travel because of the pandemic is an inconvenience for many. But, a South Coast family still doesn't know when their 17-month-old son will finally get to meet his grandparents.

Diana and Piers Hanbury of Westlake Village welcomed their second son Remy in February 2020. Just weeks later, the world shut down because of COVID-19.

Diana’s husband Piers is Australian, and his parents - who live just outside Sydney, had to cancel their flights to the U.S. to meet their new grandson.

Remy is now 17 months old. He can walk, but his Australian grandparents are yet to meet him.

They say that when he was a newborn baby, they didn't notice as much, but now, they're missing out on some of the best times because of a coronavirus travel ban in place, and they can't imagine when that might change.

"We would have hoped they would have met Remy at least once by now and be planning a second trip," says Diana.

"This time you miss is the big time when he's the most fun," adds Piers.

Piers says he’s always taken for granted that they were only an 11-hour flight away from his family.

"It might seem like a long flight, but for Sydney, 11 hours is a short flight. It's like two movies and six beers, and you're good," he says.

Australia has some of the strictest restrictions for travel, not allowing their own citizens to leave and enforcing a two week long official hotel quarantine for inbound travelers. Not to mention that flights to Australia have been reduced in number and escalated in price.

"Two weeks hotel quarantine plus the cost of flights now is several thousand," says Piers of traveling to Australia with his family, "And you're probably looking at $15,000 per person just to get there."

Even if they did, the idea that they could stay in a hotel room with two young children and wait for two weeks to see his parents, makes the trip unthinkable.

It’s not only Australia that has restrictions. In Asia, many countries have kept their borders closed during the pandemic. The US has banned travelers from a long list of countries, including the U.K., and with the delta variant and an uptick in cases, there’s no end in sight to the restrictions on travel.

For baby Remy, his paternal grandparents will have to contend with watching him grow and hit milestones over video calls until they can fly here.