Last Updated on June 16, 2022 by BVN
Breanna Reeves |
Travelers entering the U.S. via airplane from foreign countries will no longer be required to present negative COVID-19 test results, according to an announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The requirement was lifted on June 12 at 12:01 a.m. after the CDC’s announcement on June 10. The agency continues to recommend that travelers get tested for current infection before traveling (no more than three days in advance).
According to the CDC statement, the elimination of this requirement is a result of a new phase of the pandemic where there is an “uptake of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines” and high rates of immunity among the population in the U.S.
“This step is possible because of the progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19. Right now, we have life-saving vaccines and widely available treatments – effective against prevalent variants – preventing serious illness and death,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement.
“The CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 testing prior to air travel of any kind and will not hesitate to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement, if needed later. Ensuring the safety and well-being of Americans is a top priority.”
The testing requirement, in place since January 2021, required travelers over the age of two-years-old to provide proof of a negative COVID test prior to traveling to the U.S., taken no more than one day in advance of travel, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship. Those who traveled to the U.S. on land were exempt.
Travelers who recently recovered from COVID-19 were required to show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the form of a positive COVID-19 viral test and a letter from a healthcare provider or public health official giving authorization to travel.
COVID-19’s impact on the travel industry
The travel industry was one sector hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy, travel exports decreased nearly 65% from 2019 to 2020.
“The decline in travel and tourism contributed heavily to unemployment; leisure and hospitality lost 8.2 million jobs between February and April 2020 alone, accounting for 37% of the decline in overall nonfarm employment during that time,” the fact sheet noted.
Members of the travel industry celebrated the end of the testing requirement, as noted in a statement released by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) President & CEO Zane Kerby.
“We commend the Biden Administration for taking this long-overdue step and thank ASTA members across the country for their hard work in helping get this across the finish line,” Kerby said. “While plenty of challenges remain in terms of rebuilding the travel agency business, today is a great day.”