More than 260 travel industry and business organizations sent a letter Thursday to the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha urging him for an immediate lifting of the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international air visitors.
The groups argue in the letter that the country can now control diseases thanks to modern public health instruments, and that many other countries have already taken steps to remove testing.
“The wide range of public health tools to effectively manage COVID-19, combined with hospital grade ventilation systems onboard airplanes and the inbound vaccination requirement, have also made international air travel safer than ever,” the group says in the letter.
The economic implications of sustaining the policy, according to the letter, are enormous, with foreign trip spending falling by 78 percent from 2019 levels.
Eliminating the requirement for vaccinated passengers to undergo pre-departure testing would hasten the resumption of international travel to and from the United States.
The Transportation Security Administration ceased implementing the law requiring masks on planes, trains and other public transportation after it was overturned by a federal judge in April, another item these groups wanted it to be removed.
These groups now believe that full vaccination should be enough to prevent the spread of the virus.
“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 work, schools and normal activities—all without the need for indoor masks, frequent testing and physical distancing.” the letter reads.
These factors strongly support the elimination of the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international air travelers,”
The letter’s signatories include Disney, American Airlines, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Los Angeles World Airports, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the United States Travel Association, United States Tour Operators Association, and the United States Chamber of Commerce, among others.