MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — Air travel is already down more than 50% amid the pandemic and now new restrictions are in place for travelers trying to get into the United States.
The Biden administration is banning non-U.S. residents from the United Kingdom, Ireland, most of Europe, Brazil and South Africa.
“In light of the new COVID variants we are learning about, we are instituting now new measures for individuals flying into the United States from other countries,” President Biden said last week.
Starting at midnight Tuesday, anyone flying into the United States from another country will need proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
“That documentation has to be provided to the airline before they board the flight entering the country and they are recommending you be tested three days prior to boarding the flight,” Greg Chin of Miami International Airport said.
However, Biden has been critical of travel bans in the past.
At the start of the pandemic, on March 12, 2020, Biden tweeted “A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it. This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it.”
On Monday, the president’s press secretary was pressed about his criticism of travel bans imposed by President Trump.
“The president has been clear that he thought the Muslim ban was xenophobic. He overturned the Muslim ban. He also, though has supported even before he was inaugurated, travel restrictions to keep the American people safe,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
The U.S. Travel Association, which advocates for the travel industry, supports some of the new restrictions like COVID-19 testing for international passengers.
But Biden has also raised the idea of a mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers, something the trade group says it is very much against.
“I think the mandatory quarantine really is a deterrent to travel. We have data that shows if you have the testing mechanism in place the WHO (World Health Organization) and other organizations have said the quarantine is not necessary if you have the testing capability,” Tori Emerson Barnes with the U.S Travel Association said.
Barnes says the travel economy lost more than $500 billion last year.