As a second pandemic summer comes to a close, it’s clear that the global travel industry found 2021 mildly easier than 2020. That said, the analysis on travel bans show that just as many are currently in place around the world as a year ago and it will be a long time before they are gone.
The U.S. is still witnessing some impressive milestones, both good and bad:
- The New York Times reported that the U.S. had surpassed 40 million reported cases of Covid-19 since its tracking started; the same number of people as the population of California.
- As of September 4, there are now–on average–more than 1,500 deaths a day for the first time since March, a figure that has quintupled since the beginning of August (but well under the peak levels seen last winter).
- Whilst the U.S. reached the milestone of having 70% of adults vaccinated by August, the state-by-state picture shows that 21 states are still slightly below this figure–West Virginia, Wyoming, Mississippi and Idaho are the furthest away, at around 60%.
And this means a mixed bag for travel. Many states are now bringing back certain restrictions for public spaces and workforces, and some are implementing state-wide mask mandates. Plus a handful of states still have state-wide travel restrictions in place. It could be worse, although undoubtedly many in the industry were hoping that the U.S. would have rescinded its travel ban on EU and U.K. arrivals by now–all eyes are now on Thanksgiving or worse, Christmas.
The Telegraph offers a state-by-state guide to mask mandates, which varies wildly across the country. In Washington DC, for instance, everyone must wear masks inside public places, regardless of vaccination status. At the other extreme, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has banned individual cities/counties from implementing new mask-wearing and counter-virus measures (some of the busiest places are strongly advising that people do, however).
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State-wide travel restrictions for the U.S.
Only four states have state-wide travel restrictions.
Hawaii–passengers 5+ must be tested to avoid isolation
In order to bypass the 10-day quarantine, passengers over the age of 5 must have a negative nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT)–taken at an approved site–either in their hands upon arrival or uploaded into the health form online. This form will give passengers a QR code which can be given to airport screeners upon arrival. Fully vaccinated arrivals are exempt.
Kansas–quarantine in place for some travelers
Kansas has had some of the most specific travel requirements in the U.S. throughout the entire pandemic and it still has travel restrictions in place. As of 27 August, mandatory quarantine is needed for anyone who has done one of the following (although the period of self-isolation depends on whether travelers have been tested):
- traveled on or after July 29 to Martinique;
- traveled on or after August 27 to French Polynesia, Georgia (country) or Guadeloupe;
- traveled between August 13 and 27 to Louisiana;
- traveled between July 29 and August 27 to the Isle of Man;
- traveled between July 15 and August 27 to Fiji;
- attended any mass gathering of 500 or more where individuals do not socially distance (6 feet) nor wear a mask; and/or
- been on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after 15 March 2020.
If someone falls into these categories they can ‘test out’ of a 10-day quarantine by taking a test on day 6 of quarantine and being released on day 8 when the negative result comes through (instead of day 11).
Kentucky–quarantine advised for out-of-state arrivals
Kentucky has been discouraging out-of-state travel. However, if necessary, travelers should get tested before they leave, and again between days 3-5 of the trip and then enter a 7-day quarantine upon their return. Fully vaccinated travelers are exempt.
Oregon–quarantine for 10 or 7 days
From August 31, Oregon is advising any out-of-state passengers to enter a 10-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine with a negative Covid-19 test result. Fully vaccinated travelers are exempt from this advice.