Returning to the U.S. is about to become harder for unvaccinated Americans under the new federal mandates. Pre-departure and on arrival testing will be part of the new package of measures, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients confirmed Monday.
Back in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order requesting all international travelers arriving on American soil to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test, including those who were fully vaccinated.
Over the next few weeks, returning unvaccinated Americans will also need to demonstrate they have booked and purchased a test to be taken on arrival, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki during a press briefing on Monday.
The measure will also include children, and it does not stop there.
The unvaccinated must now demonstrate they took the test only 24 hours prior to departure. Up to now, they could submit a test taken within 72 hours before boarding a flight home.
In contrast, The Biden administration is relaxing international travel restrictions for foreign visitors entering the U.S.
Although the government will only allow people who have received a full course of a number of coronavirus vaccines (not all of them are permitted), they will have the chance to present a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 3 days before arrival.
This new policy will replace the travel ban for non-nationals coming from 33 countries including most of the European Union, much of Asia and other territories.
“International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange of ideas and culture,” Zients said.
“We have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel,” he added.
The new mandates seem to be in alignment with what Americans actually think regarding travel and vaccination.
A recent poll carried out between September 17 to September 19, shows that at least 50% of vaccinated Americans are “extremely” or “considerably” concerned about spending their holidays or traveling with unvaccinated family members or friends.
“Our new data suggests the vaccine divide is not only reshaping relationships, but soon the holiday travel season,” said Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema.