travel guidance

CDC Travel COVID Guidance: What to Know For Those Leaving and Entering US

Despite the federal mask mandate's end, the CDC still recommends masks onboard public transportation

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While the U.S. is set to end the requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 Sunday, several safety recommendations put forth by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention remain in place.

Whether leaving or entering the U.S., a citizen or visitor, the CDC encourages a number of mitigation measures, including wearing face masks on public transit and frequent handwashing.

Before traveling to or from the U.S., people should consider getting tested with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible, with the test taking place no more than three days before travel. However, as of Sunday, testing will no longer be required, just encouraged.

International travelers visiting the U.S. have slightly different requirements than citizens, U.S. nationals and immigrants entering the country. All non-U.S. citizens traveling by air are required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, with only a few exemptions in place, according to the CDC.

All air passengers heading to the U.S., including citizens returning to the country, are required to provide contact information to airlines in the event travelers need to be notified about exposure to a communicable disease, including COVID-19.

Those visiting the U.S. must bring their required documents, such as a passport and any visa or other entry/residency documentation, necessary to enter the country, the CDC said on its website.

Despite the federal mask mandate's end, the CDC still recommends everyone age 2 years old and above, including airplane passengers and airport employees, wear a well-fitting mask or respirator onboard public transportation and in transportation facilities. Outside of public transportation, travelers 2 years old or older should wear masks in areas with a "high" level of COVID-19 or if they - or someone they live with - has a weakened immune system or is at increased risk for severe disease.

After arriving in the U.S., the CDC recommends anyone, including U.S. citizens, stay home and self-quarantine for a full five days after travel. All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, should undergo a viral test 3-5 days after arrival and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC stated. If symptoms do develop, you're encouraged to self-isolate and get tested.

The situation is different for those who have recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection in the past 90 days - whether vaccinated or not. In this case, you don't need to get a test 3-5 days after arrival and also don't need to self-quarantine.

Associated Press/NBC Chicago
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