Travelers endure long lines at CLT Airport during holiday travel weekend amid discovery of new COVID-19 variant

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(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A different kind of Black Friday crowd was at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, with long lines approaching security checkpoints throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

“I’ve never seen Charlotte like this,” said Lauren Denhoff of the crowd.

The lines are there, despite news of new worries and restrictions coming as a result of a new COVID-19 variant that was discovered in southern Africa that is believed to be more contagious than the Delta variant.

The United States has restricted travel from several African countries, and FOX 46 found more strict enforcements of mask mandates at the airport Friday as travelers were making their way through to their destinations.

The worries also led to a drop of over 900 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which financial experts said was tied to the fears of the new variant and its potential impacts on economies across the world.

For nearly two years now, people have seen the impact the pandemic has had on travel and transportation, along with their spending habits. Leo Marte, with Abundant Advisors in Huntersville, said any worries about the new variant should be taken with the knowledge that many parts of the world are prepared.

“We didn’t have vaccines, we didn’t have therapeutic treatments, we didn’t have a lot of things that really caught us off-guard,” said Marte.  “Now, we have a global infrastructure to address the pandemic.”

Marte believes, for now, that may lead to a smaller effect on the stock market and on any potential worries about pandemic restrictions continuing.

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