NOVEMBER 4, 2020

At Ovation, 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.

November marks the start of the holiday travel season in the United States, which means more people will begin to plan trips and visit friends and family over the next two months. Travelers should be aware of the different travel restrictions set in place throughout the country (e.g., quarantine requirements, negative COVID-19 test requirements, state-specific travel forms). While some US states have no restrictions on travel, other state-specific COVID-19 safety information, including possible face covering mandates in public settings, is relevant for travelers. Click "Read More" below for a comprehensive list of state-specific travel restrictions and safety mandates currently in place across the US as assembled by CNN.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced new guidelines allowing out-of-state travelers to New York to "test out" of the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travelers will now be required to take a test that comes back negative within the three days prior to heading to New York, the governor said. Upon arrival, travelers must quarantine for at least three full days before taking another COVID-19 test. If that test comes back negative, the traveler can leave quarantine. The requirements, which take effect today, will not apply to residents of "contiguous" states, and there will be different requirements for New Yorkers who leave the state for less than 24 hours. Governor Cuomo named Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont as examples of contiguous states that would also be exempt from the new requirement. The new testing policy means New York will shift away from the Tri-State Travel Advisory list it created along with New Jersey and Connecticut. The three states had been updating the list on a weekly basis since June, adding and removing states based on the average daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. As of now, both governors from New Jersey and Connecticut said they will continue to follow the Tri-State Travel Advisory despite New York's departure. Click "Read More" below to view Governor Cuomo's full statement.

American Airlines has announced that it is expanding its current preflight testing program to additional destinations, now offering preflight testing options to more destinations than any other US carrier. In November, preflight testing, supplied by home testing supplier LetsGetChecked, will be available for all American flights to Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and the Hawaiian Islands. The testing program for Belize, Grenada and St. Lucia will begin November 16th. Testing for travel to Belize must be completed within 72 hours of departure, and testing for travel to both Grenada and St. Lucia must be completed with seven days prior to departure. As for the Hawaiian Islands, American expanded the testing program at the beginning of the month, enabling travelers flying from Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles and Phoenix to use LetsGetChecked testing. Results can be expected in 48 hours on average, and testing must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure.

United Airlines has announced the world's first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot program for travelers. From November 16th through December 11th, the airline will offer rapid tests to every traveler over 2 years old and crew members on board select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to London Heathrow (LHR), free of charge. Anyone who does not wish to be tested will be placed on another flight, guaranteeing everyone on board other than children under two will have tested negative before departure. The test will be given to passengers traveling on United Flight 14, departing at 7:15 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Appointments for the test are required, and travelers are advised to schedule their tests at least three hours before their flight. United also said it will share customer feedback of this pilot with governments on both sides of the Atlantic to further demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs as an alternative to mandatory quarantines or duplicative travel restrictions.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has unveiled a facial recognition system at Tom Bradley International Terminal to simplify the arrival of international travelers, reports Airport Technology. Known as Simplified Arrival, the new touchless system will automate the document checks that are mandatory for entry into the US. The newly unveiled biometric facial comparison process will compare images of the travelers to photos that they have previously submitted to the government such as passport and visa photos. Foreign travelers who have previously visited the US will no longer have to provide fingerprints as their identity will be verified via the facial comparison system. The system was implemented by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in partnership with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

Delta Air Lines has announced that it is adding an additional layer of antimicrobial protection to airplane lavatories to enhance cleanliness. New LED lighting is being installed to better protect travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The carrier is beginning installation of Vyv (pronounced “VIVE” – formerly known as Vital Vio) antimicrobial LED lighting above onboard lavatory sinks and countertops – known as a high-touch area on board. The light continually reduces the growth of bacteria within the lavatory.  These antimicrobial LED lights, when combined with electrostatic spraying and frequent cleaning, help to improve cleanliness and eliminate germs in lavatories. In-flight crews also use kits that include disinfectant spray, wipes and gloves to ensure the thorough sanitization completed before boarding stays fresh throughout the flight. Beginning in mid-November with the Delta 757-200 fleet, travelers will notice more aircraft outfitted with Vyv. After installation on this initial fleet, Delta plans to conduct further tests in 2021 with the hope of expanding installation in the future.

A World Health Organization (WHO) representative said last week that COVID-19 tests should be used more often during international travel instead of mandatory quarantines, reports Travel Pulse. WHO Emergency Committee chair Didier Houssin revealed during a news conference that the organization needs to provide fresh guidance on safe international air travel. “And clearly the use of the tests is certainly now supposed to have a much larger place compared to quarantine, for example, which would certainly facilitate things considering all the efforts which have been made by airlines and by airports,” Houssin said during the press conference.