Earlier this week, the White House was strongly urged by the U.S. Travel Association to lift federal COVID travel restrictions, notably a repeal of the federal mask mandate on public modes of transportation, including airplanes.
The organization sent a letter expressing this position directly to Dr. Ashish Jha, who is the incoming COVID response coordinator for the White House. The letter strongly recommends eliminating the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound international air travelers who are fully vaccinated, as well as lifting the mask mandate by April 18.
If the Biden administration is unwilling to repeal these mandates by April 18, then the U.S. Travel Association would like “a plan and timeline to repeal the federal mask mandate within the subsequent 90 days.”
According to U.S. Travel Chief Executive Roger Dow, “it makes little sense” to continue requiring fully vaccinated travelers to continue having to show proof of a negative PCR test when entering the United States via air, especially “when the U.S. government does not require negative tests at U.S-Canada and U.S.-Mexico land border points of entry.”
Dow continued on to note that several other nations with comparable hospitalization, vaccination, and infection rates, notably Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom, “have eliminated pre-departure testing requirements.”
Currently, the CDC advises against travel to at least 120 different nations due to COVID concerns.
However, the U.S. Travel Association, an industry association based in Washington, D.C., has urged the CDC to end its varied “avoid travel” advisories for individuals who have been fully vaccinated, and it has also directly called upon the Biden administration to avoid the “use of travel bans from specific countries” in the future.
In addition, the travel industry association is urging the White House to start “[developing] benchmarks and timelines for a pathway to the new normal that repeals pandemic-focused travel restrictions,” which entails the termination of all remaining restrictions that continue to inhibit travel senselessly for millions of individuals.
“We strongly encourage the administration to chart a path to the new normal, [as well as] announce a plan to replace pandemic-focused travel restrictions with more permanent travel policies,” Dow declared.
Recently, the Biden administration extended mask mandates through April 18 as public health officials evaluate whether or not the mandates should be lifted.
The letter sent to the Biden administration by the travel industry association was signed by the CEOs from multiple airlines, including Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, Alaska Air, Atlas Air, Hawaiian Airlines, and others, according to an ABC report.