With new CDC guidelines, travel, aviation and business groups urge Biden admin to lift COVID travel restrictions

WASHINGTON – With new guidelines released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that relax many COVID-era policies – including indoor mask-wearing – the US Travel Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, Airlines for America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce appeal to White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeffrey Zients in a letter urging the Biden administration to override travel advisories, requirements and restrictions the pandemic era through endemic-focused policies that allow travel to resume fully and safely and the U.S. economy to accelerate its recovery.

These policies are crucial to restoring America’s economy and workforce, as travel was America’s largest services-based export before the pandemic. In 2021, like many other sectors of the economy have reached a full recovery:

  • Business travel spending was around 50% below 2019 levels; and
  • International travel spending fell 78% from 2019.

Given the slow economic recovery in travel, and in light of improved public health measures in the United States and medical advances to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19, the Biden administration should now take measures to normalize travel conditions, which include the repeal of the pre-departure testing requirement for air travelers vaccinated on arrival and the federal mask mandate for public transportation, among other key policies.

Recommendations for restoring movement:

  • Waive the pre-departure testing requirement for all fully vaccinated incoming international arrivals.
  • By March 18, repeal the federal mask mandate for public transportation systems or provide a clear roadmap to remove the mask mandate within 90 days.
  • To finish “Avoid travel” advisories and use of travel bans.
  • Work with other countries to standardize travel and entry requirements.
  • By June 1, develop benchmarks and timelines for a path to the new normal that repeals pandemic-focused travel restrictions.
  • Send a clear message to the American public and the world that it is once again safe to travel, especially for vaccinated people.

Effective, risk-based policies can be reinstated at any time if new variants of concern emerge or the public health situation deteriorates. Now is the time for the administration to lead the country into a new normal for travel and onto a faster path to a full and even economic recovery.

This industry group stands ready to help the Biden administration advance these necessary rampant-era policies and restore America’s travel economy.

Please click here to view the full letter and policy recommendations.

About the American Travel Association

US Travel Association is the national nonprofit organization representing all components of the travel industry. In 2020, travel generated $1.5 trillion in economic output and supported 11 million jobs, a drastic drop from pre-pandemic numbers. US Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for recovery information and data.

David James
Vice President, Media Relations
USTA

National and international policyCoronavirus: impact on the hotel industryUnited States

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