Canadian hockey teams are crossing the land border to avoid America’s pre-departure test requirement.
It’s happened in Washington and New York.
The United States remains one of the only countries in the Americas and Europe to still require pre-departure testing of all inbound air travelers. Even Australia has ended pre-departure testing! Much to the chagrin of the travel industry, the Biden administration has shown no interest in lifting the expensive and time-consuming Covid rule. Perhaps out of fear of missing their games due to asymptomatic positive tests, Canadian hockey teams are now crossing the land border, where testing is not required, and then taking domestic flights onward to their final destinations.
Countries with limited health infrastructure like Iceland, Fiji, and Laos have all ended pre-departure testing, so it is bizarre that the Biden administration has yet to do the same, given there is widespread community transmission in the U.S. and there is plenty of health system capacity if a foreign traveler does fall ill.
Perhaps it is bureaucratic inertia? Or the Biden administration is afraid that lifting the pre-departure testing rule will undermine the legal justification for the Trump-era Title 42 policy they use to expel migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border? Some speculated that is why the Biden administration took so long to lift the ban on Canadian travelers.
Whatever the reason, it’s long past time for America’s pre-departure testing rule to end. There is no public health justification for the testing requirement and it makes travel punishingly expensive for working-class Americans, especially individuals with close family ties in Canada and Latin America. Moreover, as the behavior of these hockey teams demonstrates, the rule is a farce.