The US has committed to stripping away its travel restrictions, despite concerns about the spreading Delta-variant of the COVID-19 virus.
Alongside the UK, 26 Schengen countries in Europe will be able to visit the country as well as the likes of Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, and India. This change is expected to take effect in early November.
This policy marks a significant alteration to travel restrictions, as over the last 18 months only American citizens, their immediate family, or green card holders could travel to the country if they had been to the UK two weeks prior to their flight.
However, rules will still apply when it comes to travel. Those who wish to travel will require proof of full vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure.
Speaking to The New York Times, White House pandemic coordinator Jeff Zients said “travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange ideas and culture.”
Zients added: “That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel.”
COVID and business
This news will undoubtedly spark hope for businesses. In recent months, the “great resignation” has highlighted the need for staff in the US, as many people have left work that does not incentivize them in ways they desire. Additionally, there have been calls from HR professionals for more immigrant workers.
The easing of restrictions will undoubtedly make it easier for those from abroad to travel and pick up work. Particularly, as they would meet the requirements for companies that are enforcing the hotly contested vaccine mandates.
Of course, for the aviation and tourism industry, this change in policy could provide a huge boost for companies and help inject more money into the economy.
Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss has told the BBC that the policy update is “a major milestone” in the reopening of travel at scale.
“As the UK forges its recovery from the pandemic, the reopening of the transatlantic corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F acknowledges the great progress both nations have made in rolling out successful vaccine programmes.”
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