U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the COVID-related executive orders issued by the White House, many of which pertain to travel:
“We welcome the president’s focus on policies that will encourage safe travel and help restore the millions of U.S. travel jobs that were lost last year.
“The CDC’s inbound testing requirement is the key to reopening international travel and it adds another important layer of safety. If the testing requirement is going to work on a global scale, it has to be flexible and reflect where testing resources are available and where they’re not. The executive order would allow for flexibility if it’s needed.
“We also strongly support the president’s mask mandate for interstate travel, which is in line with the industry’s health and safety guidance and consistent with what countless travel businesses are already doing to protect travelers and workers.
“In particular, the repeal of the travel ban from certain Muslim-majority countries is the right move. The CDC testing requirement for international travelers should also pave the way to ease other travel restrictions, including those on the U.K., the E.U., and Brazil in the near term.
“However, the executive order on travel also leaves many important questions unanswered. We believe a mandatory quarantine requirement for international travelers could be extremely difficult to enforce—and unnecessary in light of required testing and the many other protections now in place. In the domestic environment, where there aren’t defined ports of entry for travelers, mandatory testing and other requirements are also impractical and could divert scarce public health resources away from other priorities.
“We look forward to working with the Biden administration to develop realistic and effective risk-based policies, and to educate travelers on additional recommendations, to help continue the safe reopening of travel.”