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DHS Terminates COVID-related Flight Arrival Restrictions

On September 15, 2020 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will publish an announcement that it will terminate arrival restrictions applicable to certain international flights starting on September 14, 2020. The original restrictions, aimed to deter the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the United States announced between February and May, 2020 funneled travelers from 31 countries, including People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and the 26 countries within Europe’s Schengen Area to a limited number of U.S. airports.

The U.S.-bound flights carrying passengers who had visited the designated countries within the past 14 days have been required to land at a limited set of 15 U.S. airports equipped with increased public health resources conducting enhanced entry screening. Starting today, international flights will no longer be directed to the designated airports and enhanced screening efforts at arrival will stop.  The DHS believes that terminating this effort will allow public health resources to be more effectively reprioritized for other containment and mitigation efforts and will stimulate air travel. Traveler health education and illness reporting systems will remain in place, however.

The Notification does not change restrictions barring entry to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico and the travel ban restrictions outlined in our previous blog posts remain in place.

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