Sept. 21, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Fully vaccinated Irish tourists will be able to enter the U.S. from November, easing COVID-19 travel restrictions which have been in place for 18 months.
The decision, announced by White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients Monday, means that the U.S. will soon admit fully vaccinated air travelers coming from Ireland – as well as Britain and other travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe which including France, Germany and Italy.
Zients did not give an exact start date for the rollout of the new rules beyond saying “early November,” and many details of the new policy are still being decided, Reuters reported.
What we do know is that travelers will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated as well as having proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before boarding US-bound flights.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release a list of accepted vaccinations before the policy comes into effect in November.
The agency will also require airlines to collect and provide US-bound passenger information to aid contract tracing, such as phone numbers and email addresses of passengers
“This vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” Zients said.
“Vaccines continue to show that they’re highly effective, including against the delta variant, and the new system allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Under the current U.S. restrictions, only American citizens, their immediate families, and green card holders are allowed into the country if they have been in a banned country within 14 days before entering the U.S. Non-immigrant visa card holders require an exemption from the rule to gain entry.
The decisions marked an abrupt U-turn for President Joe Biden’s administration, which said last week it was not the right time to lift any restrictions amid rising COVID-19 cases.
The news was welcomed by An Taoiseach Michael Martin yesterday who met with New York Governor Kathy Hochul in Manhattan.