Delta Variant Travel Restrictions Update

The Delta variant continues to spread across the United States and the world. As infection rates and hospitalizations increase to the highest levels since most places began reopening for nonessential travel, various destinations are reintroducing travel restrictions.

United States Travel Restrictions

So far, no United States state or territory is closing its borders to nonessential travel as they did in 2020. However, more places are introducing indoor mask mandates, limiting crowd capacity and requiring proof of vaccination to combat what’s becoming known as “the fourth wave.”

Proof of Vaccination For Indoor Activities

So far, four cities across the country require guests to show proof of vaccination to enter certain indoor facilities. The list of cities includes:

  • New York City
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • New Orleans

Each city policy may have some variations regarding which business types must comply. There may be exemptions for qualifying circumstances in some cases, and a negative COVID-19 test result is necessary instead.

The Los Angeles mandate appears to be the most flexible of the four major cities. The current language allows the partially vaccinated with a single dose to enter.

Some of the venues requiring proof of vaccine can include: 

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Museums
  • Arenas
  • Concert halls
  • Theaters
  • Casinos

Businesses may also require proof of vaccination even if there isn’t a local mandate. 

Hawaii Capacity Limits

Hawaii continues to have the strictest travel restrictions of the 50 states. Due to rising case counts, the state is reducing the maximum crowd capacity to 50% for high-risk indoor activities. 

The maximum number of attendees is as follows:

  • Indoor activities: 10
  • Outdoor activities: 25

Affected businesses include restaurants, bars and gyms, among other activities.

The state requires proof of vaccination or a negative test result to waive the mandatory quarantine when flying to Hawaii.

There are currently no inter-island travel restrictions like in early 2021.

Indoor Mask Mandates

A growing number of cities across the United States have indoor mask mandates. While the fully vaccinated and unvaccinated can visit these cities, the high transmission risk can discourage travel.

Philadelphia is one of the most recent cities to require wearing masks indoors again. However, it is possible to waive the mask requirement by showing proof of vaccination at participating businesses. Some cities may have similar exemption policies.

National Park Service Mask Mandate

The National Park Service reinstated its mask mandate on August 16, 2021, for all indoor facilities and crowded outdoor spaces. This mandate remains in effect until further notice.  

Canada

Canada requires travelers to be fully vaccinated for these commercial travel methods:

This requirement goes into effect as soon as September, according to the Canadian government.

The travel mandate is more likely to affect Canadian citizens than visiting Americans. United States citizens and lawful residents can only see the country quarantine-free when they have complete vaccination.

Fully vaccinated Americans can now fly to Canada or cross the land border for nonessential travel reasons. The travel policy became effective on August 9, 2021, after a total closure since the early weeks of the pandemic in 2020.

While Canada is again welcoming Americans, the United States continues to have travel restrictions for Canadians wishing to enter the U.S. by land. As a result, Canadian residents must continue flying to the United States to enter but do not have to quarantine.

Germany

Germany is the latest European country to require Americans to be fully vaccinated to enter the country. 

Unvaccinated and partial vaccinated travelers must self-quarantine for the first ten days of their visit. It’s possible to waive the second half of the quarantine with a negative test result on day 5.

This policy also affects other countries on Germany’s high-risk list. 

Iceland

Iceland was one of the first European countries to reopen international travel for Americans. The nation also continues to require all age-eligible visitors for the coronavirus vaccine to be fully vaccinated or show proof of a recent recovery.

A recent entry requirement change is needing a negative pre-arrival test, regardless of your vaccination status.

While the nation has a 90% vaccination rate, its infection rates are among some of the world’s highest at the moment. United States officials are discouraging leisure travel to Iceland until the situation improves.

France

Americans can fly to France and tour the country by showing vaccine proof or a negative COVID-19 test from the past 72 hours. A recent change is that citizens and visitors must use a digital health pass to visit bars, restaurants and tourist attractions. 

Current laws require proof of vaccine or a negative test result for outdoor dining in addition to the indoor requirements most vaccine mandates impact.

Health pass users will present a QR-code the merchant can scan to verify their health status.

Caribbean Travel Restrictions

There are a couple of new travel restrictions for the Caribbean islands that can impact a tropical vacation.

Turks And Caicos

The Turks and Caicos will require eligible travelers aged 16 years or older to be fully vaccinated. This travel change goes into effect on September 1, 2021.

A negative pre-arrival test and health insurance covering Covid-19 remain necessary to enter restriction-free.

Martinique And Guadeloupe

The French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are currently in a 3-week lockdown beginning on August 7, 2021. Visitors and island residents cannot travel more than a half-mile from home.

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are one of the last destinations to still prohibit nonessential travel. 

Fully vaccinated can begin returning to the island by plane in September. Unfortunately, a mandatory 5-day quarantine is necessary for all guests so other nearby islands will remain a better travel option.

Starting October 14, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer need to quarantine upon arrival. Unvaccinated travelers over age 12 can also begin flying to the island in mid-October but must quarantine for 14 days.

Cruise travel to the Cayman Islands will not resume until January 27, 2022 or later.

New Zealand

New Zealand recently stated its borders would not open to tourists until 2022 under current circumstances. When tourists can again fly to the country, they will need to be fully vaccinated but can waive any mandatory quarantine.

Oceania remains to have some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world for nonessential travel. For example, New Zealand recently enforced a nationwide lockdown. Australia also has several lockdowns currently impacting the most popular tourist spots.

Summary

The Delta variant is discouraging domestic and international travel. Several popular tourist destinations are launching stricter entry requirements and health safety protocols to reduce transmission risk but are more lenient than the opening months of 2021 for most places.

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