The travel industry applauded the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance issued Friday that will substantially relax the guidance on travel for individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
The agency said fully vaccinated travelers with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States and do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it and do not need to self-quarantine.
While the CDC notes that international travel poses additional risks, it says fully vaccinated travelers should follow recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3-5 days after travel, but do not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said it’s “a major step in the right direction that is supported by the science and will take the brakes off the industry that has been hardest hit by the fallout of COVID by far.”
He continued: “The CDC’s data suggests that vaccinated individuals don’t transmit the coronavirus, which opens the door much wider for resuming travel, albeit while continuing to carefully follow other health best practices. Acknowledging that vaccinations eliminate the need for testing and quarantines removes a key barrier to domestic travel. Rescinding the recommendation that international visitors must quarantine also is an important incremental step.”
“It is essential that we build on this success by continuing to work together to develop the roadmap to fully and safely reopen both domestic and international travel,” said Travel Again Co-Founder and CEO Mike McCormick.
McCormick said that after traveler confidence has begun to recover from historically low levels at the onset of the pandemic, it remains one of the greatest hurdles in restoring travel activity.
“Clear guidance for travelers and tools for travel suppliers to support the process can help boost confidence and get travelers back on the road. This can only be accomplished if the government and travel industry work closely together in a true public-private partnership to develop and implement these plans,” he said.
The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) also reacted to the news on Friday. In a statement, ASTA said that it welcomed the news, but more still needs to be done.
“We welcome the CDC’s new guidance that fully vaccinated Americans can resume domestic travel without additional testing or quarantines, something we have called for time and again…While this announcement is welcome, more needs to be done. Since the CDC has determined that fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, logic dictates that additional rules also be relaxed, including restrictions on cruise travel and the rule requiring Americans returning from overseas to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding their return flight,” ASTA said in its statement.
“At a minimum, we call on the CDC to take these common-sense steps and to publish a framework for travel’s reopening so advisors and their clients can plan with certainty and to continue work on systems to establish vaccination, immunity or a negative test result so that international travel can restart in earnest.”