On November 8, according to Reuters, fully vaccinated foreign visitors can enter the United States via a communication the White House sent on Friday.
The new rules will require all foreign nationals arriving in the United States to show proof of being fully vaccinated, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said. He said the new rules would take effect in early November, a timeline that will give agencies and airlines “time to prepare.”
US travel bans were first imposed in the earliest days of the pandemic when then-President Donald Trump limited travel from China in January 2020.
That step failed to prevent the virus from reaching the United States, but additional countries were added to the list as health officials pressed the White House to limit entry from places where case rates were high.
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Trump added countries in the Schengen Zone — which encompasses 26 states in Europe, including France, Germany, and Italy — along with Ireland and the United Kingdom. Brazil, South Africa, and India were added separately. Land borders with Canada and Mexico were also closed.
Biden had maintained the strict bans on nonessential travel, even as vaccination rates in Europe ticked upward, citing the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and the emergence of the Delta variant.
The White House said these actions would be rolled out in a phased approach. The first phase will kick off in early November and will allow fully vaccinated visitors traveling for nonessential reasons, like visiting friends or for tourism, to cross US land borders.
The second phase will start in early January 2022 and will apply the vaccination requirement to all inbound foreign travelers.
Airlines have been happy about Biden’s new travel policy. Airlines for America President and CEO Nick Calio said he is pleased with the news and that the safe reopening of borders is essential for the nation’s economic recovery.
“U.S. airlines have been strong advocates for an individual risk-based system to safely ease travel restrictions, and we recognize that the safe reopening of borders is essential for our nation’s economic recovery. The full reopening of international travel is also critical to reviving economies around the globe, reinvigorating communities, and supporting millions of jobs in the U.S. and abroad,” Calio said in a statement.
Keep up with more travel news here at the East County Gazette.