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 July's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
1. 31 STATES INCLUDED ON TRI-STATE AREA QUARANTINE LIST
People traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from 31 states are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days, after 10 states with significant community spread of COVID-19 were added to a travel advisory Tuesday, reports NPR. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut first announced their travel advisory on June 24th, as they sought to limit potential sources of COVID-19 infection. As of last week, 22 states were on the list of those requiring quarantines, but the advisory now covers well over half the country. Delaware, which was removed last week, is now back on the list. The state effectively swapped places with Minnesota, which has dropped off. The tri-state area's new travel advisory now covers these states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
2. AMERICAN AIRLINES, UNITED AIRLINES TO LIFT LIMITS ON SEATING CAPACITY
Both American Airlines and United Airlines will fill flights to full capacity starting July 1st, reports Travel + Leisure. American Airlines announcement reverses the airline’s decision to limit flights to 85 percent capacity, a policy that had been in place since April. Once onboard, American will allow passengers to move to a different seat within their ticketed cabin if it’s available. As for United, a representative for the airline said it would continue its policy of notifying travelers 24 hours before their flight if it is likely to be full and allowing them to either rebook on a different flight or receive a travel credit. Conversely, some US airlines have extended policies that limit onboard seating. Delta Air Lines will extend caps on seating and blocking middle seats through September 30th, limiting seating in the main cabin to no more than 60 percent. Southwest will keep middle seats open through at least September 30th, and Alaska Airlines will do the same through July 31st.
3. US CBP EXTENDS CLOSURE OF TRUSTED TRAVELER PROGRAMS ENROLLMENT CENTERS TO SEPTEMBER 8TH
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment centers will remain closed until at least September 8, 2020, to ensure the health and safety of program applicants and CBP personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made in consultation with CBP health and safety experts who continue to monitor the increase in COVID-19 cases across the United States. Trusted Traveler Programs applicants who scheduled interviews at enrollment centers on or before September 7th must reschedule their appointments. To reschedule, applicants should log into their Trusted Traveler Programs account on or after September 8th and use the online scheduling tool. In order to minimize the impact of the enrollment centers closure on Trusted Traveler Programs applicants, CBP further extended the period of time that applicants have to complete the enrollment process. Every applicant now has 545 days from the date that CBP conditionally approves their application to complete the enrollment process. In addition, CBP will extend for up to 18 months the program benefits of members who apply for renewal before their current membership expires.
4. TSA IMPLEMENTS NEW SAFETY PROCEDURES
The Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) has implemented changes to its safety procedures, reports Travel Pulse. Under the new safety procedures, TSA officers are now instructed to clean their gloves or change their gloves between interactions with travelers such as pat-downs or ID checks to prevent cross-contamination. They are also encouraging travelers to put loose items in personal bags rather than security bins. Additionally, officers will now wear face shields as well as masks, and TSA is putting transparent screens where officers and travelers interact without social distancing.
5. DHS REVERSES NEW YORK TRUSTED TRAVELER BAN
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has lifted the ban on New York residents joining and renewing memberships in Trusted Traveler programs, which include the Global Entry Program, the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) Program, the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Program and NEXUS, reports Business Travel News. DHS issued the ban in February, citing the state's "Green Light Law" concerning the issuance of driver's licenses. The Green Light Law allows undocumented immigrants to apply for New York driver's licenses while protecting applicants' information from immigration enforcement agencies. That law also prohibits New York State Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing any data with federal authorities that enforce immigration law, including ICE and Customs and Border Protection, without a subpoena or court order. In April, New York amended the law. DHS said the change allows record sharing with federal immigration authorities "as necessary for an individual seeking acceptance into a Trusted Traveler program, or to facilitate vehicle imports and/or exports," leading the agency to lift its ban.
Please note, due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases across the US, all Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment centers will remain closed until at least September 8, 2020..