By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group representing truck drivers in North America and a New York lawmaker on Monday asked the Biden administration to rescind a requirement for foreign visitors to be vaccinated.
The United States in June rescinded its requirement that people arriving in the country by air test negative for COVID-19 but has not lifted vaccination requirements for nearly all foreign visitors arriving by air or at land ports.
Canada said Monday it will drop all COVID-19 restrictions for travelers starting Oct. 1, including vaccination and masking requirements for flights and trains.
Representative Brian Higgins, a Republican who represents a New York district on the Canadian border, said Monday “the end of restrictions is overdue. Canada’s decision is the right one. The U.S. should follow immediately.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association with over 150,000 members in North America, including nearly 1,000 Canadian drivers, called on President Joe Biden to drop the requirement in a letter Monday saying “truckers already face difficult working conditions and must comply with an enormous regulatory burden. The United States’ cross-border vaccine mandate adds another unnecessary obstacle for them.”
The carriers cited Biden’s recent interview comment that “the pandemic is over.”
The White House declined to comment.
Canada’s decision to end restrictions was based on its vaccination rate, availability of newer vaccines and treatments, and data showing the country had passed the peak of the latest wave of infections, the government said.
In April, a U.S. judge declared the CDC’s requirements that travelers wear masks on airplanes and in transit hubs like airports unlawful and the Biden administration stopped enforcing it. The Justice Department has appealed the order.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend travelers wear masks and get COVID-19 tests before and after international flights.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Stephen Coates)