Mayors Urge White House to End Testing for Inbound Air Travel
Covid-19 restrictions have been removed in most cities around the country. Even when flying, you no longer need to wear a mask. But for Americans traveling abroad, and those looking to visit the U.S., there’s still a testing requirement regardless of vaccination status.
Many countries with similar infection, vaccination and hospitalization rates have already eliminated pre-departure testing, and now a bipartisan group of mayors is asking the White House to do the same.
38 mayors representing American cities and counties, sent a letter to the Biden administration asking for the removal of pre-departure testing as a requirement for U.S. entry by air for vaccinated individuals. Mayors of Houston, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Philadelphia also sent separate letters to the administration with the same request, for a total of 42 mayors.
“We strongly urge you to repeal the federal inbound testing requirement for vaccinated air travelers to the United States,” the letter says. “This requirement makes little sense considering that nearly all other sectors of the U.S. economy are operating without a testing requirement”
The mayors note that 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 work, schools and public activities, all without the needing a Covid-19 test. They also highlight the importance of foreign spending for the local economies.
“American cities are still struggling to regain international visitors after more than two years of pandemic-related restrictions,” the letter says.
In 2021, international visitation was a staggering 78% below pre-pandemic levels. A new survey of vaccinated international travelers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and India found that the pre-departure testing requirement is a deterrent to travel. More than half of international travelers (54%) said the added uncertainty of having to cancel a trip due to U.S. pre-departure testing requirements would significantly impact their likelihood to visit the U.S.; and a large majority of adults surveyed (71%) agreed that they prioritize traveling to destinations without cumbersome entry requirements.
“It’s time to repeal these requirements and to return power back to our people,” the letter concludes.
Last month, 260 travel industry and business organizations sent a similar letter to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.
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