It’s time for that Malarkey test to go
Next month I will be returning to the United States for the first time since the COVID crisis began.
And I’m pretty excited.
Long-awaited get-togethers with friends and family, barbecue, Buffalo wings, 4th of July fireworks, Mexican cuisine, outdoor concerts, and warm summer nights filled with the soothing sounds crickets and condensation-kissed cans await.
Unfortunately, there is something else waiting for me before I take that flight to Heathrow to get to the United States: a COVID test.
Despite dozens of countries around the world (a list that includes names like France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Costa Rica and the UK) ending testing before the arrival and the endless pleadings of the travel industry, the United States still currently requires a negative COVID test to arrive by air, regardless of your vaccination status or nationality.
And yes, you read that last line correctly; it is not necessary to take a test if you are driving across the US border or sailing on a ship.
It is high time that this policy followed the path of the buffalo.
It costs way too much money; it’s hampering the recovery of the travel industry, well, it just seems unnecessary.
Okay, so this is where we stop for a special word from the author where I make it clear that I am not pro-COVID or against any regulations intended to hinder the spread of the virus. I’m fully vaccinated (boosted too!) and very happy to wear a mask whenever someone asks me to.
But I’m all for policies that make sense, and this one doesn’t seem to do much at all.
Primarily, if there are no testing requirements or rules governing daily life in America, why do I have to prove I don’t have COVID to enter the country?
Do you see my logic here? If the United States was currently in some kind of lockdown, I could understand. But as with everyday life here in the UK, haven’t things returned to normal? So if I don’t need to prove I don’t have COVID to go to the movies, to a sporting event, or even to fly to the United States, why would I show a negative test to fly from there? ‘foreign? The virus is everywhere and has been for a few years now, so what makes inbound air travel so special that it needs these extra rules?
Has COVID been shown to be more contagious over an ocean?
Is this a clever plan of the big cats “Big Testing”?
Or, is it just another in a long series of random, instinctive policies that have been put in place by both administrations – and governments around the world, for that matter – that have demonized certain countries, international travel and travellers. since March 2020.
I have no doubt that whoever put this policy in place did so with the best of intentions, but as I said before, if the country you are trying to “protect” from COVID by returning air passengers to the negative arrival does not have a bunch of test requirements that govern daily life, your policy is useless.
Now I’m going to do my best not to test positive before my flight, but if I do, at least I can just go home. But imagine you take a 10-day trip overseas and test positive before your flight back to the US, then have to pay for a hotel or rental apartment until you test negative. and that you are allowed to go home.
Do you think the fear of potentially facing such a financially draining fiasco is helping to keep Americans’ international overseas travel extremely low? You bet.
Listen, we know COVID vaccines have saved countless lives. So why not just put all that time and energy into increasing the number of vaccines and trying to reduce pre-existing conditions that make people more susceptible to the virus instead of pestering travelers to prove they don’t have a COVID before flying and wasting airline employee time dealing with it?
I would gladly pay a few dollars more on my airfare if the money was for vaccination efforts in the country where I was flying.
Alright, declaim. See you soon, USA.