Feinstein introduces bill to require vaccinations or tests for domestic air travel

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) leaves the weekly Senate Democratic policy luncheon on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative before domestic travel.

The U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act would require the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Aviation Administration to develop standards for airlines to verify that a person has either been vaccinated, tested negative for COVID-19 or has fully recovered from a coronavirus infection to be able to fly.

In a statement, Feinstein said the U.S. cannot go through a surge in coronavirus infections this holiday season like the surge that occurred during the 2020 winter season.

“Ensuring that air travelers protect themselves and their destination communities from this disease is critical to prevent the next surge, particularly if we confront new, more virulent variants of COVID-19,” Feinstein said. 

“It only makes sense that we also ensure the millions of airline passengers that crisscross our country aren’t contributing to further transmission, especially as young children remain ineligible to be vaccinated,” she continued.

As the U.S. deals with a wave of coronavirus infections fueled by the delta variant, some experts warn that another surge in the winter is likely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently requires air passengers from a foreign country to test negative for COVID-19 or have recovered from COVID-19. 

Last week, the Biden administration said that all foreign visitors must show that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a plane headed to the U.S. Visitors would also have to provide a negative test within 72 hours before flying.

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