On Thursday, May 5, 2022, over 260 travel industry and business organizations sent a letter to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha calling for an urgent repeal of the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international air travelers.
The time is now to take this critical step. Stronger immunity provided by vaccinations, boosters and prior infections, as well as effective treatments to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19, have enabled Americans to safely return to normal activities without requirements for indoor mask usage, frequent testing and physical distancing. These facts strongly support the elimination of the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international air travelers to the United States.
While there is no longer a need for an inbound testing requirement for vaccinated travelers, the letter notes that the economic costs associated with maintaining the measure are significant, with international travel spending a staggering 78% below 2019 levels. Eliminating the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated travelers would accelerate the return of international travel to and from the U.S. without increasing the spread of COVID-19.
The letter also states that many foreign governments with similar infection, vaccination and hospitalization rates—including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada—have already eliminated pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated travelers. Furthermore, since the federal government does not require negative tests for entry at our land-border ports of entry with Canada and Mexico, it no longer makes sense to keep a pre-departure COVID testing requirement in place for vaccinated international air travelers to the U.S.
It is time for the Biden administration to lead the country toward a new normal for travel and on a faster road to a full economic recovery.