Soon after Donald Trump announced the lifting of European travel restrictions on January 26, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden rejected the plan.
On January 18, 2021, Trump announced the lifting of travel bans for passengers arriving to the United States from the EU, United Kingdom and Brazil, effective January 26, 2021. However, Biden’s White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, announced that the President-elect will extend the restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants.
“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” wrote Psaki. “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on January 26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump temporarily banned nationals from 26 European Union countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement from entering the US. The ban was soon after extended to UK travelers. Trump justified the decision as a need to protect the US from the coronavirus hotspots.
On January 12, 2021, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that travelers will have to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the US, effective from January 26, 2021.
Already in October 2020, Joe Biden said he would mandate facial covers for all inter-state passengers and since the election, he reiterated that plan. The plan was supported by Airlines for America, a trade association representing major United States airlines.