The Biden administration will enforce its vaccine mandate on foreigners who arrive by air until at least the early spring.
The Transportation Security Administration extended the mandate, which was set to expire in the coming days, until April 10.
The move extends an October 2021 policy that opened up travel to the U.S. from many countries but required arriving visitors to be vaccinated.
Critics of the rule say it is hampering tourism and that vaccination should be a personal choice, especially since the shots do not stop transmission of the virus outright.
“President Biden himself said the pandemic is over so the original justification for the mandate has lapsed. Pre-pandemic, international tourism generated close to $2 trillion in U.S. economic activity, so denying entry to unvaccinated foreign guests is denying us untold billions in revenue,” Jenny Beth Martin, the honorary chairwoman of Tea Party Patriots Action, said in a midweek statement blasting the extension. “And last but not least, as a matter of principle, no one should be forced to take a vaccine against their will, whether they’re an American or a foreign guest.”
Testing requirements on non-American tourists who arrive in the U.S. were lifted last year.
However, the Biden administration recently reimposed testing requirements on those who arrive from China, citing the Asian country’s U-Turn on its zero-COVID policies and rampant outbreaks in the country.
The Chinese government criticized the new rules as excessive and accused the U.S. of wielding them for political purposes.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.