May 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Over 260 travel, business groups urge White House to end COVID testing for U.S. entry

Photo of an American Airlines plane taking off into the sky from an airport

An American Airlines plane takes off from Los Angeles International Airport on March 23. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

Over 260 travel industry and business organizations are calling on the Biden administration to end its COVID testing requirement for vaccinated international passengers entering the U.S.

Why it matters: The travel industry has taken multiple blows over the last two years due to the pandemic and emerging variants. Companies are looking to rebound despite another rise in cases.

What they're saying: "Given the slow economic recovery of the business and international travel sectors, and in light of medical advancements and the improved public health metrics in the U.S., we encourage you to immediately remove the inbound testing requirement for vaccinated air travelers," said the letter addressed to incoming White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.

  • "While there is no longer a need for an inbound testing requirement for vaccinated travelers, the economic costs associated with maintaining the measure are significant."
  • The letter notes that in 2021, business travel spending and international travel spending were 56% and 78% below 2019 levels, respectively. It also points out that many countries with similar infection rates have dropped their pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated travelers.
  • The letter is signed by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines Marriott International, Walt Disney Co's Disney Parks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association, among others.

The big picture: The Transportation Security Administration stopped enforcing the Biden administration's rule mandating masks on planes, trains and other forms of public transportation after it was struck down by a federal judge in April.

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