Biden Administration reveals new travel rules - Effective Monday, December 6, 2021
"If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight."
In response to the omicron COVID variant, the Biden Administration today released new guidelines for inbound travelers to the U.S., including U.S. citizens. Effective Monday, December 6, all U.S. citizens, regardless of vaccination status, will need to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 1 day of travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight to the U.S. The “mask mandate” for interstate transportation and international travel was also extended through March 2022. This comes on the heels of a ban on foreign travelers from eight countries in southern Africa that was put in place last week.
DETAILS Below and at Link
See details published by CDC December 3, 2021: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html
With ongoing uncertainty regarding the omicron COVID-19 variant, the Biden Administration yesterday released new guidelines for inbound travelers to the U.S., including U.S. citizens. This comes on the heels of a travel ban from eight countries in southern Africa put in place last week. Below are the main elements of the new policy, which will be effective Monday, December 6, 2021.
U.S. Citizens Required to Test Within One Day of Travel
Effective December 6, all U.S. citizens, regardless of vaccination status, will need to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 1 day of travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight. Previously, all vaccinated travelers were required to produce a negative viral test result within three days of travel to the United States, and unvaccinated U.S. citizens to show negative test taken within one day of departure. The test can be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) such as a PCR test.
Mask Mandate Extended
The federal mask mandate on public transportation, including international travel, will be extended through March 18, 2022. This includes transportation hubs such as airports and indoor bus terminals. Fines for noncompliance are a minimum of $500 and up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.
These are the two major changes to international travel policy. Rumored elements such as a seven-day mandatory quarantine for returning travelers are thankfully not included. For existing policy, which was recently updated as of November 8, see CDC materials and past ASTA member alerts below.
We know these changes will be unwelcome, as international travel and parts of your business associated with it were just starting to recover. As we said in a statement released yesterday, “While we are pleased to see that the Administration will not be implementing some of the more extreme measures it was reportedly considering...We call on the Administration to revisit the propriety of both the shortened testing window and travel bans as quickly as possible, as we believe that the existing masking, testing, and vaccination requirements – painstakingly crafted by the Administration over the past few months – should obviate the need for new travel restrictions every time a new COVID variant emerges.”
We note that the message surrounding the new guidelines, like previous Administration orders, includes language on keeping businesses open and the economy growing. But these new restrictions come without relief for those acutely affected by the policy. ASTA is once again calling on Congress to restore the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), the fourth quarter of which was rescinded as pay-for in the infrastructure bill signed into law on November 15, as well as to provide additional relief. Reinvigorating the economy through infrastructure should not come at the expense of businesses that continue to be decimated by the pandemic and who were relying on those funds to keep employees on the payroll through the end of the year.