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US Travel Restriction Update: Requirements to quarantine, masks, and COVID-19 test results

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On January 12, 2021, I shared with you that all international air travelers to the US will be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results. This requirement is effective January 26, 2021. With this travel restriction, there has been a surge of inquiries from travelers inquiring and ensuring they have a way of getting the COVID-19 tests within 3 days of their travel.

The US had no testing requirements for international travelers

Just remember, prior to this announcement, the US had no testing requirement for arriving international travelers. As a point of reference or an actual example, a good friend of mine mentioned to me that her dad traveled to the US from the Philippines. Her dad is not a US Citizen. When he arrived in Los Angeles, “they didn’t even check temperature or ask him for a negative Covid test once coming into US immigration. They asked him more questions about how long he was outside of the USA rather than do any health checks. There was no monitoring at all or collection of where people were staying or obtaining any contact info.” He self quarantined at home but no guidance about when to take a test, etc. and could’ve easily left since LA County was still half open when it comes to retail.

Executive Order: US to require masks, COVID tests, and quarantine

President Joe Biden tweeted today, and indicated:

Image courtesy of Twitter

This plan resulted in requiring wearing masks in:

  • airports;
  • commercial aircraft;
  • trains;
  • public maritime vessels, including ferries;
  • intercity bus services; and
  • all forms of public transportation

According to this Executive Order from the White House released on Jan. 21, 2021.

Image courtesy of The White House

Need more quarantine details

As of this entry, it is unclear when this quarantine will take effect. Looking at the Executive Order, “self-quarantine” was mentioned. Will it be a 10-day quarantine? Or will it be 14-days? Or will it be lesser? Will someone be checking up on the travelers to ensure that this is being followed. I highly doubt that that there is a complex plan in place to have someone check up on the travelers. It could be an honor system.

What do you need to know

So for someone like me who have plans to travel internationally, I now need to make sure:

  • get my COVID test within 3 days of my flight back to the US
  • have my negative COVID testresults ready and on-hand, ready to present PRIOR to boarding my flight to the US
  • prepare to self-quarantine (in my mind, we might be asked to quarantine between 10-14 days)

Those who have to go to work “physically” – this might create a logistical problem. Those who work remotely, work-at-home, stay-at-home, have a flexible work arrangement, this self-quarantine might not be that much of an issue.

I would expect that we would hear more updates and changes.

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