New COVID Rules Mean Traveling Back to the US Won’t Be So Easy


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By Araceli Cruz

January 22, 2021

The CDC restrictions will go into effect on Jan. 26 and will likely affect vacations in Mexico, which is where Americans have been traveling the most.

Since the pandemic began last year, travel between the US and Mexico has not ceased. While many countries prohibited Americans from entering because of rising COVID-19 cases in the States, Mexico has welcomed travelers with open arms. Now, however, with a new administration that is taking the virus more seriously, entering the US won’t be as easy as before. 

Starting on Jan. 26, travelers entering the US will need to show a test that verifies a COVID-19 negative result before they get on their plane. The new travel restrictions come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

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According to the CDC, if you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than three days before you travel by air into the US and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

The CDC says the new order will apply to anyone traveling into the US that is over the age of 2. The order does not apply to US territories, which include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Most vacationing during the pandemic has been between the US and Mexico because of loosened restrictions. From the onset of the pandemic, the US limited ground trips across the northern and southern borders to “essential travel” only, however, vacationers continued to travel to Mexico via air. The new CDC order does not apply to those entering the US by land. 

RELATED: Traveling Back Home to Puerto Rico During the Pandemic? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Mexico tourism has declined because of the pandemic, but during the first part of 2020, Mexico had an estimated 13 million international tourists enter the country. However, with tighter travel restrictions in the US, tourism in Mexico could decline. 

Andrew Nocella, United Airlines chief commercial officer, told USA Today that undoubtedly, travel from the US to Mexico will decrease due to these new restrictions. 

“The one place that is different, that had no regulatory testing requirements, was Mexico,” Nocella told USA Today. He added that United Airlines saw an increase in “material amount” of travel volume to the beach resorts, however, now they are seeing cancellations. 

For more information on the new CDC order, click here. The Department of Health in Mexico has also released a list of labs where COVID tests are available. 


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