US eases travel rules for vaccinated visitors, unvaccinated Americans require tests

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The travel industry is getting back to normal despite the fact that COVID is still raging. Although vaccines are widely available in the West, many underdeveloped countries are still struggling to vaccinate their population while too many Americans are refusing to get vaccinated. Hopefully new fundraisers will help bring vaccinations to areas in most need. Recently, the cruise industry in the U.S. has won the right to require guests twelve and older to have proof of vaccination before setting sail. Since late spring, the EU and other international destinations have opened their borders to fully vaccinated Americans. However, the U.S. was not allowing most foreign visitors with some exceptions. The travel ban was put into place by Donald Trump and upheld by Biden. That ban will be lifted starting in early November. Fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be able to enter the U.S. The U.S. is requiring foreign travelers to show a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travel in addition to proof of vaccination. American citizens traveling from outside the U.S. will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test. Below are a few more details via People:

While there won’t be any requirements to quarantine once inside the U.S., Zients said there will still be enhanced contact tracing in place and face masks will still be required on flights.

Unvaccinated Americans traveling back into the country will need to provide a negative test within one day of departure as well, and will need to test negative again when they arrive stateside.

These new changes are expected to take effect in early November, NBC News reported.

Travel bans were originally put in place early last year by then-President Donald Trump. Current President Joe Biden kept the rules in effect shortly after taking office in January.

E.U. and British officials previously lifted bans for travelers from the U.S. and other locations entering many of their territories in the spring, NBC News reported.

“This vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” said Zients, per USA Today. “Vaccines continue to show that they’re highly effective, including against the delta variant, and the new system allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Zients also said, per NBC News, that the CDC will issue a contact tracing order that will require airlines to collect information from travelers heading into the county, such as a phone number or email address. This will allow the organization to alert travelers if they have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.

[From People]

I just want to say how happy I am that the Biden/Harris administration has intelligent people like coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients representing our country. Zeints’s responses for this interview were succinct and appropriate. I honestly don’t know how to feel about the reopening of borders. I like that most countries are requiring proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test but COVID is still spreading despite these measures. On the other hand, I have friends from the EU who are afraid to go back home because they might not be able to reenter the U.S. despite living and working here. So lifting the travel ban is good. There is no real solution as we are still dealing with COVID. It has been a year and a half since the world ground to a halt and at some point we are going to have move back to normalcy.

In my opinion, the two things holding us back from that are anti-vaxxers, and the delay on the waiver for the protections on the vaccine patents. We can’t truly open borders if folks are traveling to places that cannot vaccinate their citizens. Plus Americans should be required to be vaccinated to reenter the country. It is appalling that American states have millions of excess vaccines due to lack of demand while nations around the world can’t vaccinate their people. Hopefully we can achieve worldwide vaccine equity while implementing more domestic mandates.

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Photos credit: Anna Shvets on Pexels and Lisanto and Atoms on Unsplash

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11 Responses to “US eases travel rules for vaccinated visitors, unvaccinated Americans require tests”

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  1. BusyLizzy says:

    This news makes me happy!

    I have not been to the US since 2011. My husband and I (French citizens, both fully vaxxed) have been talking about a trip in 2022 to go to NY, Boston and Washington.

    I was deeply moved when I saw Ground Zero for the first time in 2008 and I have been looking forward to visiting the 9/11 memorial and museum.

  2. LadyMTL says:

    The US still hasn’t opened the land border with Canada, and that bums me out (it’s also kind of illogical, since we can fly to the US with no issues) A friend and I are on vacation in a few weeks, and we were really looking forward to popping down for a day trip, but alas, we’ll have to wait.

    • deezee says:

      I agree about the border thing. It is ridiculous that I can fly but cannot drive 15 minutes from my house.

    • Nic919 says:

      It doesn’t make sense especially since Canada has already opened their borders to vaccinated Americans. And more Canadians are vaccinated per capita than Americans by a large margin so we are less of a risk.

    • Adris says:

      They also haven’t opened the border with Mexico. The worst part is that the Embassy is also kinda closed off. I live in Juarez and my visa expired this april. I already filled out the forms and got an appointment to renew it, the earliest date they had available was in Jan. 2023. 2023!!!! Biden gifted Mexico Pfizer vaccines and all of the border is already vaccinated, we’ve also bee having less covid cases than in El Paso TX, but they Embassy is still acting as if we were super irresponsible.

      Anyway, Covid has shown me that I don’t really need to cross to the US hahahah. The only bad thing is that I had tickets to see My Chemical Romance next year, but I won’t be able to get my visa in time :(

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      Well my guess is they will in early November? If they lift the travel bans, that doesn’t just apply to flights but the border with US-Canada. Mexico is another story of course with migrants trying to sneak past the border, that border is just more politicized in general.

  3. Case says:

    Ah yes, a wonderful step in the right direction since we really seem to have this pandemic under control (EYE ROLL). This pandemic is never going to end. I realize COVID will be with us long-term, but god, I just want the pandemic to be declared over sometime in the next few years, and I feel like that’s not a lot to ask.

  4. Stephanie says:

    This makes our family so happy. My in-laws are scheduled to return to India at the end of October and it’s been weighing on us so heavily. We got them out of India during peak Delta, right before they closed travel in May but now their 6 months are up. The fact that we would be sending them back, not knowing when they would be able to return with the current restrictions, has been so scary for us. For the record they were part of the small percentage of Indians that were vaccinated early on. Knowing that they’ll be able to return within the year is such a relief.

  5. EviesMom says:

    Here I am, just a fully vaccinated Nexus card holding Canadian, waiting for the land border to open so I can collect my Amazon.com order & ModCloth order from spring 2020…. Ironically neither package will fit my new COVID quarantine rounded body 😭. But it’s the principal of it all. I miss Target. I miss Trader Joe’s. I miss my best friend & birch bay summers….

    • yvrjanice says:

      Me too! I also have a couple of packages at UPS in Bellingham to pick up and I think the clunky runners I bought have since gone out of style. Man, I miss Trader Joe’s something bad.

  6. Blueskies says:

    If the land border is open between the US and Canada at the same time it will be wonderful, although not a great time to travel weather-wise. Also, many Canadians including myself were advised to go ahead and get whatever mRNA vaccine was made available to them for their second shot (I have a Pfizer/Moderna mix) only to be told a mixture wouldn’t be recognised as full vaccination by the States. I assume a booster matching your last vaccine would be recognised? Does anyone have any recent info on that? I’m looking forward to being able to travel to WNY again to visit a dear friend. I can see it being spring now at the earliest.