White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the administration will not rule out imposing COVID-19 vaccine requirements for domestic travel as the United States lifted its travel ban on non-essential travel for vaccinated air and land travelers on Monday.
When asked about restrictions being lifted for vaccinated travelers into the United States starting Monday and if the administration is considering extending vaccine requirements to domestic travel, Jean-Pierre demurred but did not rule it out.
“So, we say this all time … everything’s on the table,” she said, adding: “We just don’t have any announcement to preview right now on this.”
“So, I don’t have anything more to share on the domestic travel” policy, said Jean-Pierre, who is filling in for White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Psaki tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, on Oct. 31.
It’s not clear if Jean-Pierre is referring to mandating vaccine rules for domestic air travel, Amtrak travel, or other forms of land travel. The Transportation Security Administration and several other government agencies often refer to flights within the United States as “domestic travel” or “domestic air travel.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website regarding travel during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to suggest that “domestic travel” refers to all forms of travel within the United States, recommending to “delay travel until you are fully vaccinated … if you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated.” Furthermore, it requires that non-vaccinated people wear masks on planes, trains, and other forms of public transportation.
The reporter’s question to Jean-Pierre came as the United States on Monday lifted its 20-month-long travel ban for all vaccinated international air travelers. The travel restrictions had barred non-U.S. citizens from traveling from dozens of countries—including India and much of Europe, and it had also restricted land entry from Mexico and Canada.
Lawmakers from U.S. border states praised the move to lift the unprecedented restrictions which harmed the economies of local communities and prevented visits to friends and families for 19 months.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures. That pain is about to end,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
“On behalf of the U.S. travel industry: WELCOME,” the U.S. Travel Association wrote on Twitter Monday morning. “Today marks a monumental and long-awaited day for travelers, long-separated friends and family who can now safely reunite with loved ones.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the Biden administration for clarification on Jean-Pierre’s comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.