U.S. to ease journey restrictions for overseas guests who’re vaccinated in opposition to Covid

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The US will ease travel restrictions on international visitors vaccinated against Covid-19 in November, including those from the UK and the EU, the White House said on Monday.

Non-citizens visiting the United States must provide proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test within three days of departure, said Jeff Zients, who leads the country’s Covid response efforts for the White House.

The changes go into effect in early November, which the aviation industry expects to boost vacation bookings.

Passengers wearing face masks as a preventative measure against the spread of Covid-19 arrive at Orlando International Airport. On April 30, 2021, the Transportation Security Administration extended the federal mask mandate, which expired on May 11, for all passengers over 2 years to September 13.

Paul Hennessy | LightRakete | Getty Images

“You have to provide proof of vaccination before boarding a plane to the US,” Zients said during a press conference.

Airlines and other groups in the travel industry have been calling for the US to lift restrictions for months. The Trump administration first enacted the rules, which now apply to more than 30 countries, in March 2020. President Joe Biden maintained these rules shortly after he took office in January.

The Biden administration is also tightening the rules for unvaccinated US citizens returning to their homes. You must test one day before departure and test again when you return.

European and UK officials have lifted entry bans on US and other visitors since vaccines became widespread this spring, but the Biden administration hadn’t reciprocated.

Allowing more international travelers to visit the United States would have far-reaching implications. A travel ban for non-U.S. Residents has far-reaching implications for industries like airlines, retail and restaurants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also require airlines to collect and provide passenger information to aid in contract tracking.

“In the coming weeks, CDC will issue a contact tracing mandate that will require airlines to collect updated information for every traveler to the US, including their phone number and email address,” said Zients.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines stocks rose after the White House announced an end to travel bans to avoid a wider market sell-off. In the early afternoon, Delta and United were down slightly, but less than the S&P 500’s 2.4% decline. American stock was up 1%. These airlines offer the most international service of any US carrier and will benefit the most from the policy change.

According to a person familiar with White House strategy, there will be few exceptions to vaccination requirements for foreign visitors, such as:

The airlines hailed the decision by the Biden government to open these airlines to customers banned from flying to the US since early 2020.

“US airlines are strong advocates of strong, consistent policies and strive to reunite the myriad families, friends and colleagues who have not seen each other in nearly two years, if not longer,” said Nicholas Calio, president from Airlines for America, the lobby group of the largest US airlines, said in a statement.

In June, the US, UK, EU, Mexico and Canada announced that they would form a group to investigate how to safely reopen international travel.

Monday’s announcement came after the main summer travel season, but could mean stronger demand for vacation travel towards the end of the year. Airlines have used some of their largest aircraft, usually reserved for international travel, for domestic flights, a trend that could change quickly as overseas demand increases with the new rules.

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