By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – A group representing the U.S. travel industry on Friday said it opposes making quarantines mandatory for international air passengers returning to the United States.
U.S. Travel said it believes the introduction of new mandatory negative COVID-19 testing requirements for all international air passengers aged two and older eliminates the need for quarantines for returning passengers.
The new international testing requirements start Tuesday.
The group said enforcing a “mandatory quarantine requirement for international travelers could be extremely difficult to enforce”.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a seven-day quarantine for passengers arriving in the United States.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday issued an executive order directing agencies to require international air travelers to quarantine upon U.S. arrival, and directed U.S. agencies to implement a federal mask mandate in interstate transportation.
Biden told reporters passengers will need to “quarantine when they arrive in America”.
The White House did not comment Friday on the travel group’s concerns.
Biden’s order directed agencies to make recommendations to “impose additional public health measures for domestic travel”. Officials say Biden could require COVID-19 testing before flying domestically, similar to the incoming international requirements.
U.S. Travel Chief Executive Roger Dow said Friday the group does not think making testing mandatory before domestic travel “feasible or viable” and questions if the United States has the testing capacity.
Biden’s order says “to the extent feasible” air travelers must comply with applicable CDC guidelines concerning international travel “including recommended periods of self-quarantine”.
The Biden administration said this week it would reimpose entry bans on most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and most of continental Europe after President Donald Trump issued an order on Monday lifting them from the same day the new testing rules take effect.
Biden has yet to issue a new order to reimpose those entry bans. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jan Harvey)