Tampa airport plans to restore roads as US border opens to vaccinated travelers

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The United States will open its borders to vaccinated foreigners on November 8, a White House official said, granting access to millions of people who have been excluded from the country while closing it to anyone who has not. been vaccinated.

The overhaul marks the biggest change in U.S. travel policy since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, replacing a system that flatly banned most foreign nationals coming directly from major markets like Europe, l ‘India, Brazil and China.

Under the new system, vaccinated people who have tested negative within the previous 72 hours will be able to board a flight to the United States as long as they share contact tracing information. Unvaccinated foreigners will generally be barred from entry, while unvaccinated Americans will need a negative COVID-19 test.

The decision was first announced on September 20, but the Biden administration did not immediately say when the measures would go into effect.

“Restoring non-stop links with Europe is essential for the economy, businesses and tourism industry in the Tampa Bay area, as well as for reconnecting families,” said Joe Lopano, CEO of the Tampa International Airport.

Under the new federal guidelines, Lopano expects more overseas flights to resume soon from Tampa. While domestic air travel has mostly recovered to near pre-pandemic levels, international travel has declined by nearly 85% at the Tampa airport.

British Airways flights from Tampa to London are scheduled to return on November 1. Flights to Frankfurt will launch on December 16 with Lufthansa’s Eurowings Discover. Edelweiss Air service to Zurich is expected to resume in March 2022. Other routes to Canada are expected to return in November.

Airlines, battered by the coronavirus crisis, applauded the move and began scheduling schedules for the winter and beyond. The firm date will give carriers like United Airlines Holdings Inc., British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., mainstays of the lucrative transatlantic market, more certainty as they prepare their staff and plan their fuel purchases.

The move “finally allows consumers and businesses to book travel with confidence,” said Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, in an emailed statement. The airline has stepped up flights to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco from its London Heathrow base.

Flights between the United States and Europe – filled with premium travelers – are the most profitable part of the global aviation market. Carriers on both sides of the Atlantic have been pushing since mid-2020 to reopen links, only to see hopes dashed any time there is an increase in infections.

United shares gained 1.5%, while Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines Group also rose. The Bloomberg EMEA Airlines Index jumped 3.2%.

The move to a vaccine-based entry system brings the United States into compliance with the European Union, which started using COVID-pass apps in early summer, and the United Kingdom, which has made the change in recent weeks. Asian centers such as Singapore, which have generally maintained tighter restrictions, have also started to relax travel rules.

For the United States, the November 8 date also applies an opening along the land borders with Canada and Mexico announced earlier this week.

The United States will consider people arriving by air to be vaccinated if they have received injections approved by the Food and Drug Administration or have an emergency use list from the World Health Organization.

The same will likely apply to those arriving by land, said the official, who added that children under 18 are likely to be exempt. People who have received mixed injections from two different providers will be treated as vaccinated, the person said.

The decision to accept unused WHO-approved injections in the United States means that millions of travelers who have received doses developed by AstraZeneca Plc, as well as Chinese group Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech Ltd., will be allowed in. .

Nonetheless, dependence on vaccines will raise questions about access, as countries with fewer resources lag far behind richer in vaccine deployment.

Times editor Bernadette Berdychowski contributed to this report.


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