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Travel industry reacts to CDC’s new air travel requirements

The travel industry has responded quickly to news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will begin requiring a negative COVID-19 test of all U.S.-bound air passengers. January, hailing the strategy as a key security measure but expressing concern that the mandate could further hamper travel and ultimately delay the industry’s recovery.

In a statement released Tuesday night, U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said a testing requirement must be met with the removal of travel restrictions. and quarantine mandates.

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“We welcome the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a COVID-19 testing requirement for inbound international travelers. A testing requirement provides another level of security for international travel and must be accompanied by other policies. based on risk, including lifting travel restrictions and eliminating any post-arrival quarantine requirements, “Barnes said.

“With an international testing requirement in place, international visitors and returning residents would be tested at much higher rates than the general public and would pose a much lower risk of transmitting the disease. Therefore, it would make sense to eliminate international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements at the same time, “he added. “With a layered approach based on health and safety risk in all aspects of travel, it is possible to protect public health and allow travel to resume safely.”

Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), warned that the new requirement “will not guarantee that COVID-19 will not spread” and could lead to “stranded passengers, missed connections and canceled flights.”

“ASTA supports an accurate and rapid response testing regime for airline travelers in lieu of mandatory quarantines and travel bans. However, requiring a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure will not guarantee that the COVID-19 does not spread, “Kerby said in a statement issued Wednesday. “It is very possible to become infected within 72 hours of receiving a negative test result. As the CDC has already recognized, on its own, the new testing regulation will not stop the spread of the virus due to the wait time between testing. test and flight, incubation period and false positives “.

“Implementing such a requirement without a reliable rapid response test threatens to create a logistics crisis. When travelers are stranded because they cannot get a test at the destination in time for departure (if at all), this will trigger a ripple effect throughout the supply chain: stranded passengers, missed connections and canceled flights, “he added. “The inability to obtain proof and the uncertainty of being stranded will cause many travelers to postpone their plans, resulting in further mental, emotional, and financial harm. At the very least, the CDC should communicate its list of exempt destinations for assessors to and consumers can make informed decisions about their travel plans. “

“Also, now that vaccines are available, we have a solution to ensure that travelers are protected. ASTA remains committed to promoting more resources for vaccine distribution, increasing the capacity and timeliness of testing in our own backyard, and a federal mandate that requires masks in all public places, “said Kerby.” The CDC director has said that wearing a mask is the most important step you can take to protect yourself from the virus. That is why we have asked the incoming Biden Administration to require passengers to wear masks on all flights, domestic and foreign. Requiring virus testing when the global infrastructure for testing does not exist will further affect travel economics without addressing the issue at hand. “

Doctor testing patient for COVID-19.
PHOTO: Doctor testing a patient for COVID-19. (photo via Morsa Images / E +)

Travel advisers are equally concerned about the CDC announcement. Jemica Archer of TruBlue Travels said she is “absolutely amazed that this measure is being implemented so quickly” and predicts that it will be “detrimental” to travel companies.

“We were starting to recover for the 2021 travels. I started getting emails from clients about cancellations or their concerns about not being able to return to the country. I think it will be detrimental to the travel industry. Based on this news, I expect to see more cancellations and I probably won’t see my business recover in 2021, “he added.

Meanwhile, Ryan Doncsecz of VIP Vacations Inc called the CDC’s latest effort a “major hurdle and possibly a devastating last blow for travel agencies,” and predicted that an “already very small clientele will shrink once again.”

“To help save our industry, the CDC has now called on tourism boards in other countries to help initiate a plan on how to help effectively implement testing in these destinations that may already be struggling to manage and process. trials. Hopefully our resort partners will see the need to offer trial at the destination as well, but by no means do I expect others to continue to collect additional bills that were previously not associated with their hotel deals, “said Doncsecz, who continues being cautiously optimistic.

“I am very concerned about the outcome of this, but I hope that an attitude of solidarity will be maintained among travel professionals who express their concerns not only about their careers, but also about the financial support of so many travel-related jobs, combined With the backing of ASTA and others, corporations can help CDC see how negatively this will affect so many people around the world, “he concluded.

Internova Travel Group CEO JD O’Hara echoed the sentiment expressed by US Travel and called on those in power to lift restrictions on inbound travelers.

“We support the new ruling by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of the virus, especially if the testing regime will replace quarantine requirements and bring us one step closer to opening the world to travel,” he said in a statement. . “The trials will allow for safer air and cross-border travel and will be critical to our industry rebound. We therefore urge the Administration to move forward with lifting entry restrictions on travelers from the UK, Europe and Brazil. A collaborative approach with Clear and transparent communication between the government and airlines, hotels, destinations and travel advisors is essential as we continue to work together towards a safe return from travel. “

AAA is promoting the development of a comprehensive testing infrastructure to drive a safe recovery.

“As a trusted brand, AAA is focused on the safety of our members and all travelers. Access to testing is a critical component in supporting safe return to travel, as well as achieving critical mass in vaccines. AAA encourages the development of testing infrastructure to enable safe return to travel, “AAA Senior Vice President of Travel Paula Twidale said in a statement.

“Traveling is a very personal decision. For travelers unsure how to navigate today, AAA travel agents are available to help them make an informed decision to travel safely.”

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Travel News

US State Travel Restrictions: Latest COVID-19 Requirements December

With just one week left until Christmas and the New Year very close, it’s safe to say that many Americans will stick around to celebrate family and friends, even if it’s just for a small private gathering. But, with a record number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths occurring across the country, some states are discouraging interstate travel in an effort to slow the spread.

If you have your heart set on traveling across state lines this holiday season, be sure to research your destination’s testing and quarantine requirements so you can plan accordingly. Here’s a breakdown of the US states with various travel restrictions as we wind up 2020.

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Travel News

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Trump’s Work Requirements for Medicaid

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether the Trump administration can impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, a question that could become moot if the Biden administration removes the requirements.

In February, a panel of three unanimous judges from a federal appeals court in Washington struck down the requirements, which would have denied Medicaid health care coverage to poor people in Arkansas and New Hampshire unless whether they are working, volunteering or training for a job.

The appeals court said the approval of the requirement by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II was illegal – “arbitrary and capricious,” in legal jargon – because it had not considered how this would advance Medicaid’s goal of providing health care to the poor.

Congress had sought to “provide health care coverage to populations who otherwise could not afford it,” Judge David B. Sentelle wrote for the court. “Importantly, the secretary did not take this statutory objective into account in his analysis.

The case of Azar v. Gresham, No. 20-37, will be heard early next year.

Urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, Jeffrey B. Wall, the acting solicitor general, said the government should be allowed to test new approaches to the Medicaid program, especially in light of its expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The appeals court ruling, he wrote, “threatens to hamper innovations that can make state Medicaid programs more effective and sustainable” and “casts a shadow over approved or pending demonstration projects. of several other States ”.

Mr Wall wrote that requirements similar to those blocked by the appeals court had been approved or were pending in 17 other states.

Lawyers for the challengers told judges the administration’s timing was particularly bad.

“During a pandemic in which 50 million Americans filed for unemployment and nearly 12 million lost employer-sponsored health insurance,” they wrote, “the secretary of health and social services is asking this tribunal to revive demonstration projects that would allow states to kick people out of Medicaid for not looking for and getting jobs that don’t exist. “

The rules require “able-bodied” adults to report to their state each month that they have worked, researched or trained for a job, attended school, or volunteered in order to maintain Medicaid coverage. Administration officials said that work is linked with good health and it helps people avoid poverty and government dependency.

The appeals court questioned this reasoning, saying it was not supported by the objectives of the law.

“The text of the law includes a primary objective, which is to provide health care coverage without any restrictions focused on healthy outcomes, financial independence or the transition to commercial coverage,” Justice Sentelle wrote.

In Arkansas, more than 18,000 people lost their coverage before the work was blocked. Some people with jobs lost their coverage because they didn’t know the rule or didn’t report their hours to the state.

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Travel News

US State Travel Restrictions: Quarantine Requirements for the End of October

As fall progresses and the holiday season approaches, many Americans are faced with complicated COVID decisions about traveling to see family and friends across the country. Because the quarantine mandates and required public hygiene measures are still being determined jurisdictionally, US states have adopted a hodgepodge of various rules that apply to travelers, often depending on the state you are traveling to and where it comes from. Some still require out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or provide proof of a valid negative COVID-19 test to enter their states. Here’s a rundown of the latest guide on travel restrictions by state.

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