The Biden administration has formed expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to determine how best to safely restart travel after 15 months of pandemic restrictions, a White House spokesman said Tuesday.
Another US official said the administration would not take swift action to repeal orders banning people from most of the world from entering the United States because of the time it takes for groups to do their jobs. The White House has informed airlines and others in the tourism industry about the groups, the official said.
The teams will be led by the White House COVID Response Team and the National Security Council and will include the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other US agencies.
The CDC said Tuesday it was easing travel recommendations in 110 countries and territories, including Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Africa and Iran, but declined to lift travel restrictions on COVID-19.
CDC Director Rochelle Valensky said the travel restrictions in the United States, which have been in place since 2020, are the subject of an “interagency conversation and we are looking at real-time data on how we should move forward.”
The Biden administration has come under pressure from some lawmakers who say U.S. communities along the Canadian border are facing economic difficulties due to land border restrictions.
Airlines and others are pushing the administration to lift restrictions that prevent most non-US citizens who have been in the UK, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil from traveling to the United States. The United States also bans most non-essential travel on its land borders with Mexico and Canada.
Airlines for America, a trading group representing American Airlines (AAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) and others, praised the working groups, but the group believes that “these working groups should Acting quickly to support a science-backed policy that will allow fully vaccinated travelers to travel to the United States quickly is the key – we believe science is there. “
United Airlines (UAL.O) said it was encouraged that the White House gave priority to the plan to resume air travel to international markets and called for urgency, given the typically busy upcoming summer travel season. “Now is the time to implement a recovery strategy for the benefit of both the economy and the traveling public.”
On Monday, the leaders of all passenger airlines flying between Britain and the United States called on both sides to lift restrictions on transatlantic travel restrictions.
US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet at the G7 meeting for advanced economies this week in Cornwall, England.
US and British airlines have said they do not expect Washington to lift the restrictions by July 4 at the earliest, as the administration aims to vaccinate more Americans. Read more
The American Tourism Association welcomed the working groups, saying that “a public-private working group can quickly develop a plan to resume international incoming travel and start sustainable jobs and economic recovery.”
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