U.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will work together to reopen the U.S.-U.K. travel corridor, according to an announcement by the two leaders days before the annual Group of Seven meeting.
Biden and Johnson met together on June 10 in southwestern England to discuss a number of issues, including easing restrictions on international travel.
Following the meeting, the pair released a joint five-page statement that outlined plans to set up a task force that will make recommendations on resuming travel between the U.S. and the U.K., which has been largely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 26 – The U.S. will not resume international travel “at this point”, said a White House official on July 26
A White House official whose name has not been revealed told Reuters in an exclusive interview today, the U.S. is not modifying international travel restrictions “at this point” citing the highly transmissible Delta variant that’s now present in 124 countries.
“Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” he said. “Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.”
The official also mentioned the travel alert on UK-bound travel issued by the CDC requesting Americans not to travel to the United Kingdom following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
July 19 – The end date to the EU travel ban to be announced “within days”, said Pr. Biden
It is unclear if this future announcement will include U.K. travelers. But, there is no reason to think President Biden will exclusively exclude the U.K from this travel ban lifting.
Biden said he should be able to answer “within the next several days what is likely to happen…“I’m waiting to hear from our folks in our COVID team as to when that should be done” he said at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week.
According to the New York Post, British Airways and Virgin are also pushing for a US-UK traveler bubble agreement before the end of summer.
July 8 – Three key factors would prevent the US-UK travel bubble from opening this Summer
Although the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo mentioned September 6th as a potential date to open for international tourism, three key issues suggest that that would not happen that soon, at least not with the U.K.
First of all, thousands of U.K. citizens have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine which has not been recognized by the U.S. due to license issues.
Secondly, the lack of consistency in the U.S. vaccination certificates. Every state issues a different printed copy (not digital). Consequently, It’s expected to be almost impossible for U.K. authorities to determine the authenticity of these documents.
Finally, the Delta variant that is currently wreaking havoc across the U.K. and Europe. And now, the new Delta Plus variant, which is even more contagious than the first Delta, promises to make it even more difficult for U.S. and U.K. travelers.
June 28 – The US-UK Travel Corridor date is still uncertain but the U.S. might reopen for tourism on Sept. 6
Both the American CDC and the U.K. Commonwealth offices advise against travel to each other’s countries based on their current assessment of Covid-19 risks.
Back on June 11, President Bidden announced the creation of multiple “task forces” to reopen international travel. One day later, the U.K transport secretary Grant Shapps, tweeted that they were glad to join the initiative to “facilitate the reopening of transatlantic travel.” But so far, not a specific date has been announced.
“I’m hopeful that post-Labor Day we will see a nice uptick in business travel and international travel” she also added that international travel is top priority for Biden’s administration, said the secretary.
U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow also pushed the leaders to move quickly on the issue, citing the the strong vaccination rates in both the U.S. and the U.K.
“Opening a U.S.-U.K. travel corridor is a smart, science-based step to take for both countries’ economic recoveries, and now is the critical time to take it,” Dow said. “The U.S. and the U.K. both have among the world’s leading records on vaccinations and declining infections. The U.K. is our top overseas travel market, and the two governments enjoy a close relationship.”
Dow also said that there is “abundant evidence” that transatlantic flights are safe when proper health protocols are followed.
In a statement, World Travel and Tourism Senior Vice-President Virginia Messina said more travel industry jobs will be lost unless Biden and Johnson set a clear time frame for the resumption of international travel.
“Whilst we welcome the news of a task force aimed at safely reopening travel between the U.K. and the U.S., unless we have a clear timeline and unlock transatlantic travel by 4 July at the latest, we will continue to see jobs lost and businesses go under,” Messina said.