We’ve spent most of 2020 and 2021 living with COVID and its impact on travel.  I previously wrote a dated blog post about the effects of COVID-19 on travel. It has become clear that 2022 will not be much different than the previous years.  The travel industry has once responded with this new Omicron variant of the Coronavirus.  Here are a few realities travelers should be aware of.

New Omicron variant.

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new virus variant and named it Omicron.  The realization of the new Delta variant once again highlighted the need for vaccinations, boosters, and other COVID-19 precautions. This means that travelers need to better plan for vaccinations and testing as the convenience of appointments will be less available.

Omicron in the US.

On December 1, 2021, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that on November 22, 2021, a traveler from South Africa had already arrived in California infected with the Omicron virus.  Regardless of precautions, the Delta and now the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus are here in the US.

COVID testing requirement.

Previously proof of a negative COVID test was required “no more” than seventy-two hours” before arrival into the US. As of December 6, 2021, the CDC has shortened the global testing order timeline to twenty-four hours.  Travelers to the US now are required to a negative COVID test taken the day before they board their flight to the US as of 12:01 AM ET on December 6, 2021.

COVID-19 orders and regulations

The CDC has legally binding orders and regulations regarding the COVID-19 virus and the associated protocols and procedures. I highly suggest that travelers get the latest news and updates on the CDC site before making travel plans.  Here you can get information on the federal mask mandate, which has recently been extended through March 18, 2022.  In addition, you can find information on the orders for airlines to collect passenger information for contact tracing.  Many travelers have incorrectly blamed airline personnel for requirements beyond their control.  

Somehow, I think this will not be my last blog post regarding COVID-19 and travel. The realities of COVID and its impact on traveling continue to be significant. For many, traveling is a part of life and may be necessary.  As with all travel, travelers should stay informed and plan accordingly.