U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the Biden administration’s announcement to extend the federal mask mandate on airlines and transportation services until April 18, 2022:
“The Biden administration urgently needs to send a clear message to the American public and the world that it is safe to travel again, particularly for vaccinated individuals, despite this 30-day extension of the federal mask mandate. We continue to urge the federal government to phase out the mask requirement and put forward a clear plan for travelers within this 30-day period.
“The travel industry continues to be challenged with a slow economic recovery even with improved public health metrics in the U.S. and medical advancements, especially in the business and international travel segments.
“The Biden administration can help to normalize travel conditions in their April 18 framework by repealing both the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international inbound air travelers and the federal mask mandate.”
On February 25, when new guidance was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that relaxes many COVID-era policies—including indoor mask wearing—the U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Airlines for America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce appealed in a letter to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients to replace pandemic-era travel advisories, requirements and restrictions with endemic-focused policies that enable travel to resume fully and safely and the American economy to accelerate its recovery.
The recommendations to restore travel included:
- Removing the pre-departure testing requirement for all fully vaccinated inbound international arrivals.
- Repealing the federal mask mandate for public transportation networks or provide a clear roadmap to remove the mask mandate within 90 days.
- Ending “Avoid Travel” advisories and the use of travel bans.
- Working with other countries to normalize travel conditions and entry requirements.
Developing by June 1, benchmarks and timelines for a pathway to the new normal that repeals pandemic-focused travel restrictions.
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. Travelers in the United States are estimated to spend $1.1 trillion in 2022 (still 10% below 2019 levels). U.S. Travel advocates for policies to accelerate an even recovery across the travel industry and restore economic and job growth for this essential contributor to our nation’s success. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.