At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings, and more regarding COVID-19.
Ovation’s weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of May’s Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
1. CDC’S UPDATED MASK GUIDELINES STILL REQUIRE MASKS ON AIRPLANES, BUSES, AND TRAINS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that masks are still required on airplanes, buses, and trains despite previously announcing a relaxation of the facial covering protocols, which include that fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to wear masks or physically distance indoors or outdoors, reports Travel Pulse. “CDC’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated people continues to require that all travelers wear face masks on airplanes and at airports, and US airlines will enforce the requirement on flights as long as the federal mandate is in place,” a spokesperson for the CDC said. President Joe Biden and his administration issued a mandate in January requiring facial coverings on public transportation, including in transit stations and airports. In April, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended enforcement of the order through September 13th.
2. COVID HOME TESTS NOW ACCEPTED FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS TO US, SAYS CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday that home tests will now satisfy the COVID-19 test requirement for passengers boarding international flights to the U.S., reports USA Today. The CDC said a home test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test, either NAAT or antigen, that has emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. A telehealth service associated with the test manufacturer must supervise the test remotely and issue a detailed report that confirms the negative test result and person’s identity. The CDC announced in January that all passengers 2 or older must present a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before their flight or proof they recovered from the virus within the past three months when traveling internationally.
3. AVIATION, TRAVEL GROUPS URGE FULLY REOPENING US-UK TRAVEL MARKET
A coalition of US and European travel, airline, union, business, and airport groups have called for fully reopening the US-UK air travel market “as soon as safely possible,” reports Reuters. In a letter to President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the groups said the leaders’ planned meeting in early June “would be an ideal opportunity for a joint announcement of the full reopening of the US-UK air travel market for both US and UK citizens.” The US has prohibited nearly all non-US citizens who have recently been in the UK from the US since March 2020. “The return of Transatlantic flying would not only have a significantly positive impact on our respective economies but will also reunite those who have been separated from their loved ones for over a year,” said the letter, signed by the US Chamber of Commerce, Airlines for America, Global Business Travel Association, Air Line Pilots Association, Virgin Atlantic, Association of UK Airlines, Aerospace Industries Association, and others. “Safely reopening borders between the US and UK is essential for both countries’ economic recovery from COVID-19.”
4. EU AGREES TO OPEN UP TO VACCINATED TRAVELERS FROM COVID-SAFE COUNTRIES
European Union (EU) countries have agreed to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-EU visitors, reports Reuters. Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries approved a European Commission proposal to loosen the criteria to determine “safe” countries and to let in fully vaccinated travelers from elsewhere, EU sources said. They are expected to set a new list this week or early next week. Based on data from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Britain and a number of other countries would meet the new criteria. The US would not, although Americans with proof of vaccination would be welcomed. Under current restrictions, people from only seven countries can enter the EU for leisure purposes, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.
5. US WEIGHS CHANGES TO COVID-19 TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
The Biden administration has been weighing changes to the travel restrictions that ban much of the world’s population from entering the United States, reports Reuters. Biden administration agencies have been holding meetings for more than a month and reaching out to industry officials about when and how they could begin to unwind the travel restrictions. Asked whether the US would allow vaccinated Europeans to enter, a White House spokesperson said there were no changes in travel restrictions planned at the moment. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told a news conference that any decision to lift restrictions “ultimately is a public health decision and there is an interagency process and obviously the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)” is taking a leading role. Buttigieg added: “There are two ways of looking at this – one is to look at countries, the other is to look at travelers,” in terms of trying to maximize safety and allow for more travel. A coalition of US and European travel, airline, union, business, and airport groups has called for a full reopening of the US-UK air travel market “as soon as safely possible” – and hopes both governments will lift restrictions by early June.