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White House Reportedly Plans to Require COVID-19 Vaccine for Foreign Travelers
The White House is reportedly working on a plan to require all travelers arriving in the United States to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
According to The Associated Press, U.S. President Joe Biden is working on a process to ease travel restrictions for foreign citizens to the country, and the vaccination requirement is a cornerstone of the plan.
While no timetable has been announced, the government set up interagency working groups to study how and when to safely resume travel. Regardless of the exact details, mandatory vaccination protocols are expected for foreign visitors.
Last month, a White House official revealed the U.S. would not lift any existing travel restrictions in the foreseeable future due to concerns regarding the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant.
All travelers entering the U.S. are currently required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of air travel to the country.
Despite airlines and tourism officials heavily lobbying the White House for months to lift the restrictions, the Department of Homeland Security said land borders with Canada and Mexico would remain closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21.
The United Kingdom’s transport minister announced in July that fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union and U.S. would be allowed to skip COVID-related quarantine when visiting England.
While the U.S. is leaning toward vaccine mandates, the president of Mexico announced on Monday that his country has no plans of asking residents and arriving tourists for proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
U.S. Travel Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement:
“The U.S. travel industry welcomes reports that the Biden administration is building a plan to reopen our borders to fully vaccinated international travelers from countries long impacted by the 212(f) travel restrictions—an important first step to welcoming back millions of visitors from some of our top inbound markets.”
“Every week that travel bans on the UK, EU, and Canada remain in place, our economy loses $1.5 billion in spending, which would support 10,000 American jobs.”
“While vaccinations are a crucial tool to allow us to reopen to 212(f) countries, it would be a step back to replace the current testing requirement with a vaccine requirement for all other countries.”
“We urge the administration to advance this plan for 212(f) countries and set a reopening date as quickly as possible, especially as the U.K., much of the E.U., and Canada have all taken recent similar steps to reopen their borders to vaccinated travelers and rebuild their economies.”