Pres. Trump's European travel ban leaves Chicago travel agents scrambling to get people home

CHICAGO -- After President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on all flights from Europe to the U.S., except the United Kingdom, travel agents in the Chicago area found themselves scrambling to get people home.

The travel restrictions take effect Friday at midnight, and already has travelers scrambling to change plans.

"We've been actively fielding calls since the President ended his speech last night and pretty much worked through the night," said Kendra Thornton, with Royal Travel and Tours.

Thornton and her team have been getting non-stop questions over the new travel ban.

"People really want to understand what the restrictions mean," she said. "How it may impact their travels. Obviously we're heading into the busy Spring Break travel season so even people that weren't traveling necessary between EU countries and the US want to understand what this may mean for their spring break trips."

Vice President Mike Pence offered some additional clarity on Good Morning America Thursday.

"The key here, according to all our health experts is that we prevent - we prevent the coronavirus there being brought further into our country," he said.

The ban will apply to most foreign nationals traveling from 26 continental European countries, including Italy, France, and Spain.

The United Kingdom is exempt from the restriction

"We have tens of thousands of people that travel to the United States from Europe every day. Seventy percent of new cases in the world were in Europe," Pence said.

U.S. citizens, permanent resident and foreign nationals with an American immediate family member in the states will be allowed to return to the U.S. from those countries, but will have fly through a government-approved airport with enhanced screening procedures.

"One of the great benefits to being based in Chicago is O'Hare is one of these pre-selected airports where people can do their screening if they are coming in from an EU country," Thornton said. "That obviously helps saves them on having to reroute possibly to a different airport."

In addition, those travelers will be asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for two weeks.

Major U.S. airlines have already said they would help implement the government's new policy. On its website, Delta said in part that it will continue to "quickly make adjustments to service as needed in response to government travel directories."