SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – If passed, a new, proposed bill could require airline passengers to prove they’re COVID-free before flying across the country. This proposal comes just as the state announced its test-to-travel pilot program that Utah Governor Spencer Cox hopes will create easier access to one of three COVID-19 tests required by some countries.
The U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act, introduced by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would require all U.S. passengers to be fully vaccinated, fully recovered, or test negative for the coronavirus before boarding a domestic flight.
In the news release, Feinstein said holiday air travel contributed to the winter COVID-19 surge.
“Ensuring that air travelers protect themselves and their destination communities from this disease is critical to prevent the next surge,” she wrote in a statement.
“What we’re trying to do is make it as easy as possible for people to travel, to have it all in one location,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox during this monthly news conference Thursday.
Gov. Cox announced Utah will participate in a test-to-travel pilot program aimed at creating easier access for traveling Utahns going to places that require a specific test from an internationally recognized site.
“We’ve heard of people who have said they could only find a testing site or testing location and they’ve had to go to Las Vegas to get tested and then come back and get on an airplane,” he said.
As more locations put in restrictions for travelers, will Utah do the same?
“I don’t foresee Utah doing something similar to that. I think what we’ll do as a nation is make most of those decisions,” Gov. Cox said. “Now, Hawaii and others are in a little different situation. Now, we do have requirements for travelers into the United States to have some of those tests.”
In a mid-September interview, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said he supports vaccine mandates for domestic flights, but the U.S. Travel Association stated it’s against it.
“Such a policy would have an unfair, negative impact on families with young children who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine,” wrote an Association spokesperson.
This legislation builds on current CDC requirements, that all air passengers traveling to the U.S. from a foreign country must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from the virus.