Groups representing the US travel industry and airlines voiced opposition on Friday to mandatory quarantines for air passengers arriving in the United States from overseas a day after President Joe Biden signed an order to take that step.
On Thursday, Biden issued an executive order directing federal agencies to require international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the US. His administration is also implementing a requirement that all US-bound passengers aged two and over prove negative COVID-19 test results within three days before travelling. The requirement goes into effect Tuesday.
The US Travel Association, an industry group representing businesses including hotels and airlines, said the mandatory negative test requirement eliminates the need for quarantining returning passengers, a step that it said: “could be extremely difficult to enforce”.
The group represents a range of travel-related businesses including hotels, car rental firms, tourism agencies and entertainment companies.
At a briefing on Friday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not provide details on what actions the administration might take to enforce the quarantine requirements.
Airlines for America, a group representing big US airlines, separately said it hoped the White House will recognise that “testing can be used to safely resume travel without quarantines, which are difficult to enforce and often prove ineffective.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a seven-day quarantine for air travellers arriving in the US after being tested.
Biden also directed federal agencies to implement a mask-wearing mandate for interstate transportation for passengers on board trains, buses and air travel. The president directed the agencies to make recommendations to “impose additional public health measures for domestic travel,” which administration officials said could include a negative COVID-19 test before flying domestically.
US Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow said in a statement the group does not think making testing mandatory before domestic travel is “feasible or viable”.
The Biden administration has said it plans to reimpose entry bans on most non-US citizens who have recently been in Brazil and most of Europe. Former President Donald Trump previously issued an order lifting the restrictions.
Biden issued a separate order on Wednesday instructing agencies to require the use of masks in federal buildings and on federal lands.