The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an order requiring anyone flying to the United States to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before departure. The rule went into effect January 26, 2021 and applies to anyone over the age of 2 flying to the U.S. from an international destination. Passengers are required to bring to the airport either a rapid antigen or a PCR COVID-19 test with a negative result taken within three days of departure. The order can be found here.
According to the rule, airlines bear the responsibility of verifying each passenger’s eligibility to enter the U.S., though there are exceptions to the rule — including an exemption for flight crews as well as anyone who can prove they’ve recovered from COVID-19 within the last three months with a positive test result and letter from a healthcare provider that clears them for travel.
Those who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine still need to comply with the new requirement.
Negative tests are not required for anyone traveling from a U.S. territory to the mainland.
Airlines reported that the law immediately caused bookings to leisure destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean to drop. However, scores of resorts quickly announced plans to provide on-site testing to guests. Before canceling trips, check to see if your resort or hotel offers free tests.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will implement provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel by requiring travelers to wear face masks when they are in airports, bus and rail stations, as well as while on passenger aircraft, public transportation, passenger railroads, and over-the-road buses operating on scheduled fixed-routes. TSA’s action will also support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order requiring that individuals wear masks on conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs.
Starting on February 2, 2021, TSA will require individuals to wear a mask at TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems. This requirement will remain effective until May 11, 2021. In Wichita, this applies to the terminal, rental car center, and onboard the airlines.
The airlines have already implemented a rule that places passengers on a no-fly list for a period of time if they do not comply with wearing face masks on the airplane.
The TSA press release can be viewed here.