By Jasmine Payoute

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starting Monday, the United States will impose new travel restrictions as more countries confirm cases of the new Omicron COVID variant. Philadelphians are hoping the variant doesn’t derail their holiday.

It’s officially the holiday season, and yearly traditions are back in full swing.

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“It’s amazing that this year, we can be out,” Sarah Germanovich of Philadelphia told CBS3.

But with new outings come new concerns as some Philadelphians worry about the threat of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

“I have heard about the new variant, and I am concerned about it,” Germanovich said.

In just a few hours, the US will ban travelers from South Africa and seven other African nations. Canada, the Netherlands and Australia are the latest countries to confirm cases of the new variant.

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“There’s all these new variants. However, viruses always mutate so this does occur quite frequently, and I don’t think there’s a whole lot we can do about it,” Janet Doll of Philadelphia said.

Health officials said the variant, which was first detected in South Africa, is highly infectious.

But the good news, according to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, is that this variant appears to cause mild symptoms, and we now have something we didn’t one year ago.

“They have a pretty good degree of confidence that a boosted vaccine, so three full doses of vaccine is gonna be fairly protective against this new variant,” Dr. Gottlieb said on Face The Nation Sunday.

“I thought the shot hurt,” 10-year-old Demtri told CBS3, who was recently vaccinated with sister Nina. “I felt happy for getting it because it’s progress.”

And while there are currently no known cases in the US, shoppers said it’s not putting a damper on their holiday spirit.

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“I just hope it doesn’t come here, but it’s best to take precautions whether we’re dealing with the current variant or any new variant.” Perketer Tucker of Philadelphia said.

Jasmine Payoute