The Biden Administration has decidedly concurred that, ‘it’s summertime, baby!’ and lifted the last remaining travel restriction related to covid-19. On Friday, the White House announced that travelers entering the U.S. will no longer be required to present a negative covid test, CNN first reported.
The decision will go into effect on Sunday at midnight, officially ending the covid-19 testing requirement for air travelers entering the country, which has been in effect since January 2021. White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz tweeted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would “evaluate its need based on the science and in context of circulating variants.”
Testing for covid has often been viewed as one of the key ways to avoid the spread of the virus, which has claimed the lives of over a million people in the U.S. alone. In December, the CDC tightened the testing mandate for international air travelers, who were required to get a negative test within one day rather than three days of coming to the U.S.
But airlines have voiced their complaints against the travel restrictions related to covid. In February, lobbyists from the airline industry asked the U.S. administration to drop the covid-19 testing requirement, arguing that people are hesitant about traveling because they are scared of getting stranded in another country or state should they test positive.
“Science has shown time and time again that the pre-departure testing requirement is not effective and is not stopping or even slowing the spread of Covid. Quite frankly, the only impact the pre-departure testing requirement is having is a chilling effect on an already fragile economy here in the U.S.,” Airlines for America president Nicholas E. Calio recently said in a statement.
The decision comes shortly after a federal judge in Florida ruled the CDC’s mask order on public transit and planes was “unlawful,” which led to an end to masking requirements on major airlines in April.
This all comes as the number of cases for covid is on the rise, with an average of 50,000 to 110,000 new cases per day since May 1.