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Administration to form working groups to look at reopening travel

Administration to form working groups to look at reopening travel
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The Biden administration will form working groups to determine a pathway to reopening international travel with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom, a White House official confirmed to The Hill.

The working groups will be led by the White House COVID-19 response team and the National Security Council and include other agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Reuters reported. 

Lawmakers from northern border states have been pressuring the administration to reopen travel to Canada. 

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The administration is not expected to move quickly on reopening travel to the U.S., and a White House official told Reuters the working groups represent a first step.

“While we are not reopening travel today, we hope that these expert working groups will help us use our collective expertise to chart a path forward, with a goal of reopening international travel with our key partners when it is determined that it is safe to do so,” the official said. 

The travel industry praised the administration for taking a step toward reopening international travel. Airlines and other travel companies have lobbied for the administration to move forward with allowing in foreign visitors.

“With decreased infection rates in the U.S. combined with the administration’s goal of having a critical mass of Americans fully vaccinated by July 4th, there is a true near-term opportunity to safely begin to welcome back international visitors,” U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said in a statement on Tuesday.

The EU has lifted travel restriction on Americans, agreeing in May to ease restrictions for vaccinated foreign visitors.

Biden is leaving the United States on Wednesday morning for his first foreign trip as president and is headed to Europe.