A bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would require travelers on domestic airline flights in the United States to be vaccinated for COVID-19, test negative for the disease or have had a previous infection.
The U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consult with the4 Federal Aviation Administration to develop national vaccination standards and procedures related to COVID-19 and domestic air travel.
“We can’t allow upcoming holiday air travel to contribute to another surge in COVID cases,” Feinstein said on Twitter.
“Today, I introduced legislation requiring passengers on domestic flights to be vaccinated, test negative or be fully recovered from a previous COVID illness.”
We can’t allow upcoming holiday air travel to contribute to another surge in COVID cases. Today I introduced legislation requiring passengers on domestic flights to be vaccinated, test negative or be fully recovered from a previous COVID illness.https://t.co/vVRHM5OiuV
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) September 29, 2021
Meanwhile, United Airlines announced it is firing about 600 employees who chose not to comply with the company’s vaccine requirement. The airline said it was a difficult decision but necessary for safety.
Frontier Airlines has announced a similar policy requiring employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 or provide “regular” proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Airlines: ‘Not something we’re looking to do’
Feinstein’s bill would allow air passengers who don’t have proof of vaccination or a negative test to provide “written or electronic documentation of recovery from COVID–19 after previous SARS–CoV–2 infection.”
President Biden’s White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said this month he “would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated.”
However, airlines have expressed opposition to a vaccine mandate, citing among other issues the logistics of enforcement.
“Requiring vaccinations to travel and not requiring vaccinations to do anything else around the country isn’t something we’re looking to do,” said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told the New York Times in August.
Parker emphasized “it wouldn’t be physically possible to do without enormous delays in the airline system.”
Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian also has argued “the logistical challenge of getting vaccination paperwork and understanding exemptions … would cause a massive crimp on the operations.”
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