On April 2, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated guidance on domestic and international travel. The guidance includes new recommendations for those fully vaccinated (defined as two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine) with a vaccine that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized. The CDC has concluded that fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19 and has adjusted its guidance accordingly.

Domestic Travel

According to the CDC guidance, individuals who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:

  • Do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it under current travel restrictions.
  • Do not need to self-quarantine after travel.

The guidance advises individuals who are not vaccinated to:

  • Take a viral test 1-3 days before a trip.
  • Take a viral test 3-5 days after travel and stay home for a full 7 days after travel if the test is negative. If the test is positive, the guidance advises these individuals to follow isolation guidance.
  • Stay home for 10 days after travel if not tested.

According to the guidance, all travelers (vaccinated and unvaccinated) should:

  • Wear a mask over their noses and mouths.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms.
  • Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds.
  • Wash their hands often or use hand sanitizer.

International Travel

According to the guidance, those who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:

  • Do not need to get tested before travel outside the United States.
  • Do not need to self-quarantine after travel.
  • Should get a viral test 3-5 days after travel. If the test is positive, the guidance advises these individuals to follow isolation guidance.

According to the guidance, those who are not vaccinated should:

  • Get a viral test 1-3 days before their trip outside the United States.
  • Get a viral test 3-5 days after travel and stay home for a full 7 days after travel if the test is negative. If the test is positive, the guidance advises these individuals to follow isolation guidance.
  • Stay home for a full 10 days after travel if not tested.

According to the guidance, all travelers (vaccinated and unvaccinated) coming to the United States must have a negative COVID-19 test no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months. In addition, the guidance states that all travelers should:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel.
  • Wear a mask over their noses and mouths.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms.
  • Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds.
  • Wash their hands often or use hand sanitizer.

Certain countries, states, and localities have COVID-19 travel restrictions that may still require fully vaccinated individuals to get tested or quarantine after travel. Some long-standing orders may be updated in light of this new guidance.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.