At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings and more regarding COVID-19.
Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of January's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
1. CDC EXPANDS NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST REQUIREMENT TO ALL AIR TRAVELERS ENTERING US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air travelers entering the United States. Beginning January 26th, international travelers entering the US will need to test negative within the 72-hour window prior to their departure, and the CDC also recommends that they get tested again three to five days after arrival, self-quarantining for seven days post-travel. Travelers will also need to provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all travelers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a traveler does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the traveler. “Testing does not eliminate all risk,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, “but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”
2. NEW MASK MANDATE FOR TRAVELERS ON PLANES, TRAINS, BUSES, FERRIES AND AT AIRPORTS
An Executive Order signed by President Biden now requires travelers to wear face coverings during interstate travel, reports CNN. The travel order applies to airports and planes, trains, ferries, intercity buses and public transportation. The order is a directive to several agencies to take action to require masks be worn in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. "US airlines have been supportive of a federal mandate as an additional layer of support and welcome today's Executive Order, which will strengthen our flight crews' ability to enforce face covering requirements for the duration of the pandemic, said Nicholas E. Calio, A4A's president and CEO, in a statement. In addition to the mask mandate, Biden also ordered that all travelers, including US citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the United States from abroad. The order underscores the CDC policy announced last week. Biden also called for a requirement for travelers to comply with "CDC guidelines concerning international travel, including recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States."
3. UK IMPOSES MANDATORY COVID-19 TESTS FOR ALL INCOMING TRAVELERS
All travelers arriving in the UK will now be required to prove a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the 72-hour window prior to their departure, reports Bloomberg. Under rules announced last week, anyone failing to produce evidence they don’t have COVID-19 will be fined 500 pounds ($678). Travelers arriving from countries not on the government’s open travel corridor list will be required to isolate at home for 10 days, regardless of their test results. The measures, set out by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, will come into force beginning Friday, January 15th, for travelers arriving in the UK by plane, boat or train. The plan is aimed at stopping new strains of COVID-19 coming into the UK, as the government accelerates the roll-out of vaccines, Shapps said.
4. CANADA ANNOUNCES MANDATORY COVID-19 TESTS FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS
The Canadian government has announced that pre-departure COVID-19 testing and proof of negative results will now be mandatory for all air travelers arriving in Canada beginning January 7, 2021, reports Airport Technology. The aim of the mandatory COVID-19 testing is to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Canada. Despite the new rules, air travelers will still have to submit to the compulsory 14-day quarantine period before being permitted to move freely around the country. Within 72 hours of their departure, all travelers above the age of five will be required to take a coronavirus molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Before boarding, travelers must present their negative test results, with written or electronic proof, to the airlines. The test must be provided by an accredited lab or an "external organization" like a local government, stated the Canadian government on its website. In the absence of a negative PCR test, travelers will not be allowed to board flights within Canada, unless otherwise exempt.
5. AMERICAN AIRLINES TO EXPAND MOBILE HEALTH PASSPORT APP AVAILABILITY
American Airlines has announced that it is expanding the availability of its mobile health passport app, VeriFLY, to cover all international travel, becoming the first US airline to do so. The VeriFLY app, a mobile health passport that helps customers understand and verify their travel requirements, will be available for travelers starting Saturday, January 23rd, for travel from all international destinations. American is expanding access to the app in support of the US government’s requirement that all travelers 2 years of age and older traveling to the United States from any international location test negative for COVID-19 within three calendar days of departure. “We’re expanding our work with VeriFLY to quickly evolve our usage of the app and make international travel easier for our customers,” said Julie Rath, Vice President of Customer Experience at American. “We support the implementation of a global program to require COVID-19 testing for travelers to the United States, and we want to do everything we can to make travel a seamless experience for customers. We’ve received positive feedback about the app so far and look forward to more customers having the opportunity to use it.”