In a long overdue move, the Biden Administration is set to announce today that travelers from the European Union and United Kingdom will once again be allowed to travel directly to the United States starting in November.
Biden Administration Will Relax European, British Travel Restrictions
For 18 months, British and Europeans travelers have been shut out of the United States unless they traveled indirectly, had immediate family in the United States, or were granted a national interest exception. That has not only kept tourists out, but kept many families separated and employment positions unfilled.
President Trump lifted these restrictions as he was leaving office, but the Biden Administration immediately reversed course and closed off borders, which have remained closed for over 18 months.
Ahead of world leaders gathering at the United Nations in New York this week, the Biden Administration shared details about its plan to re-open U.S. borders. As noted by White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients:
- The reopening will in “early” November 1, 2021
- Borders will reopen to fully vaccinated British and Europeans
- The CDC has not determined whether AstraZeneca vaccines, which are not approved yet in the United States, will be eligible
- No quarantine will be required
- A change in the risk assessment paradigm may mean travelers from Brazil, China, and India will also be welcomed back to the USA
Questions remain over children. Will children be blocked or need vaccine passports?
But airlines are exuberant about this news, with shares of British Airways rising more than 10% since the news leaked an hour ago. BA’s business model is highly reliant upon transatlantic travel and the lifting of the travel ban could great mitigate traditionally lower demand for travel during the winter schedule.
A United spokesperson told Live and Let’s Fly:
The Administration’s decision to safely expand international travel to the United States is welcome news for our customers and United is ready to implement these new requirements…
We support this decision and look forward to working closely with the administration as the details of this policy are further solidified.
The White House plans a press conference later today to share more details about the news. We will be watching closely and update this post with more details as they become available.
But at long last, it appears a nonsensical, inhumane, unscientific, irrational policy is coming to an end. That is cause for celebration on both sides of the Atlantic.
image: White House