For a brief moment, it seemed like even with the Delta variant the travel industry was on the comeback. The U.S. opened to the EU, summer and holiday spending on travel was on the up. New U.S. travel requirements seems to be on pause.
And then in the 20th month of the global pandemic, the WHO announces a “variant of concern,” the Omicron.
Due to Omicron concerns, President Biden announces new U.S. travel requirements. When the Omicron variant was announced, the US quickly banned entry from non-citizen travelers from countries in Southern Africa. This was in effort to gain reaction time and slow down the spread. On Wednesday, the President announced new U.S. travel requirements in an effort to prep for holiday travel season.
Starting December 6, all international arrivals, vaccinated or not, will need to test negative for COVID no more 1 calendar day before flying to the U.S.
Sure, this seems like a minor adjustment. But it leaves the travel industry concerned about whether or not this will dissuade travel during a time they were hoping for a rebound. It will definitely take a little bit of extra planning. For example, I usually take a Monday flight from Italy back to the US. My local testing site in Bergamo is actually not open on Sunday, so I usually take my test on Saturday afternoon. Maybe I’ll fly on Tuesday instead? Find a different site that does rapid private tests on a Sunday — not likely in Bergamo.
Will this drive an uptick in domestic holiday get aways in the US? Puerto Rico? US Virgin Islands?
The mask mandate on public transportation, though set to expire on January 18th, has now been extended to March 18th.
Duh! The TSA is extending the requirement to wear masks while in all transportation hubs and on public modes of transportation, including in and on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, rideshares, airports, seaports, and train, bus, and subway stations.
Have these announcements changed your travel plans at all? Tell me about it!