Despite applying for an exemption three times and even hiring a lawyer to assist with the process, Morgan was unable to get authorization to fly to the U.S. for the premiere of her film about a factory-farmed pig. “I tried so hard to appeal the decision, and the stress of waiting and trying to fix meetings up with the uncertainty of waiting was crushing,” she tells Variety. “I couldn’t eat or sleep, even though I knew it was a very privileged problem.”
After almost two years, the ban was finally lifted on Nov. 8., allowing fully vaccinated passengers with the appropriate documentation (such as a visa or a visa waiver) to fly directly from the U.K. to the U.S. without the need to quarantine on arrival — as long as they complete a PCR or antigen test up to 72 hours before boarding. Unvaccinated travelers with valid exemptions can also make the trip but face additional requirements.
Passengers returning to England will also need to submit to a test within 48 hours of arriving; rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland vary slightly
The end of the ban, Burstall says, marks “a major watershed.” While industry leaders acknowledged that virtual meetings via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or other platforms proved invaluable during the pandemic, enabling people to work remotely and even democratizing the pitching process to some extent, the lack of face-to-face contact has been palpable