SEPTEMBER 16, 2020

At Lawyers Travel, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings and more regarding COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ended health screenings for arriving international travelers, reports Travel Weekly. The screenings, which were put into effect during the early months of COVID-19, had routed arriving travelers from the UK; Ireland and most of the EU; Brazil and China to 15 designated US airports. The CDC ended the screenings on Monday, September 14th. The US continues to prohibit most entry from the UK, most continental European nations, China, Brazil, Ireland and Iran, although exceptions are in place for permanent residents and US citizens. "We now have a better understanding of COVID-19 transmission that indicates symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness because people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms or fever at the time of screening or only mild symptoms," the CDC said in a press release. "Transmission of the virus may occur from passengers who have no symptoms or who have not yet developed symptoms of infection." The CDC said it will replace the screenings with a variety of mitigation strategies, including health education for travelers, robust illness response at airports and voluntary electronic collection of traveler information.

Travelers from California and five other states will no longer have to quarantine upon arriving in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, reports USA Today. New Jersey and Connecticut confirmed California is no longer included in the tri-state travel order, which requires anyone traveling from states with moderate-to-high rates of positive COVID-19 cases to isolate for 14 days, unless they're passing through or arriving for essential work. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reaffirmed the removal during Tuesday's weekly press release. The quarantine list now stands at 30 states and territories after Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio were also removed. Puerto Rico was re-added after it was removed last week. Click "Read More" below to view the current full list.

American Airlines has announced its launch of a new travel tool to help travelers quickly see the current COVID-19 travel guidelines for domestic and international destinations. The new COVID-19 tool, powered by Sherpa, will allow travelers to access an extensive travel guide and search potential restrictions based on the customer’s destination. When a destination is entered, results will show up-to-date guideline information, as well as travel requirements such as face covering guidelines, health documentation and quarantine rules. The addition of the new travel guidelines tool is part of the American Airlines Clean Commitment program.

The US State Department has lowered its travel advisory for Mexico to a Level 3 from its highest possible Level 4, days before the US-Mexico border closure is due to expire on September 21st, reports Travel Pulse. The modified travel advisory says US travelers should “reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19.” A border closure restricting nonessential travel has been in place between the United States and Mexico since March 21st in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the US Embassy in Mexico. The border closure terms only apply to land and water crossings, as flights between the United States and Mexico have largely continued since the early days of the pandemic. Until last week, the State Department’s Mexico advisory was a Level 4 (do not travel) nationwide. Stay-at-home orders have been lifted for some parts of the country and they have resumed transportation and business operations.

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing its latest initiative to curb the spread of COVID-19 with the deployment of new acrylic barriers at LaGuardia Airport (LGA), reports Airport Technology. The barriers are being installed at TSA security checkpoints across the airport. Areas where interaction with travelers happens include the travel document checking podium and place for carry-on property for X-ray screening. TSA Airport federal security director Robert Duffy said, “The installation of these barriers is the latest initiative that TSA has put in place at security checkpoints with the goal of reducing the likelihood of cross contamination among travelers and employees. These shields provide a substantial layer of protection to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.” In addition to LaGuardia Airport, the agency will install the protective barrier in John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Newark Liberty International (EWR) Airports. During this month, additional contracts for shields for additional airports are expected to be awarded.

Delta Air Lines has announced that the carrier has teamed up with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to install antimicrobial bins to automated screening lanes in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York LaGuardia and New York JFK. Installation of the antimicrobial bins began last week and will continue throughout the month. Delta will evaluate opportunities for expansion to other markets following the launch in these cities. The new bins prevent the growth of a broad spectrum of bacteria through antimicrobial technology that is built into the bin and continuously minimizes the presence of microbes throughout the bin’s lifecycle. A sleek black color and indicators on bin handles will help travelers know their belongings are safely traveling through the security checkpoint protected by this antimicrobial advancement. This innovation in safety builds on the Delta CareStandard and is the latest advancement in Delta and TSA’s partnership to continue enhancing the traveler experience.

United Airlines will begin using an antimicrobial spraying robot to clean some of its aircraft, reports ABC News. United intends to use the robot, MicroSonic Solution's NovaRover, during some of its aircraft's "deepest cleanings" overnight at 10 US airports. The NovaRover only takes about 90 seconds to disinfect, using an omnidirectional nozzle that allows it to spray a super fine mist in six directions. A single spray can coat all surfaces within a 12-foot radius, according to the company. The antimicrobial solution is intended to create a protective layer on surfaces in order to create "a long-lasting repellent against microbes." The solution is registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency, but the company is still working on obtaining EPA approval. United says the NovaRover isn't intended to replace any of its existing, daily electrostatic spraying regimen, and that it will still use electrostatic sprayers every seven days to "refresh and fortify the protective layer" provided by NovaRover.

The Global Entry trusted-traveler program is witnessing delays in enrollment and renewal in several major cities, which likely means more customs delays moving forward, reports The Wall Street Journal. After a six-month closure, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reopened Global Entry interviews required for enrollment and some renewals on September 8th; however, in a check for available appointments conducted Sunday, September 13th, nine of the nation’s 20 largest airports declared no appointments were available at any time. Inquiries were made to CBP, and by Wednesday morning, five of the nine big airports with no appointments showed openings available this month and next. CBP spokesman Nathan Peeters says each office is managed locally. Many enrollment centers are opening appointment slots incrementally, month by month, he says, so checking periodically for openings could help. He also says the agency is offering walk-up interviews at 62 airports for people entering the US from abroad. CBP says 330,000 conditionally approved Global Entry applicants have interviews scheduled and another 400,000 haven't yet scheduled interviews. Asked how long it will take for the agency to catch up on interviews, Mr. Peeters pointed to high demand after nearly six months of closed enrollment centers. He added that CBP understands the frustration these delays have caused.

American Airlines will reopen seven additional Admirals Club locations beginning in October, reports Travel Weekly. Lounges in Austin, Boston, Denver, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Nashville, Orlando and San Francisco will be open but restricted to 50% capacity starting October 1st. They'll join Admirals Club locations in Charlotte, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington Reagan National, which have already reopened. A combination of self-service and for-sale menu items will be available.