According to AP, beginning next week, travelers heading to the U.S. will be required to show evidence of a negative test for the virus within one day of boarding their flight. The previous period was three days.
Also, Biden will extend the federal rule requiring passengers on planes, trains and buses to wear face masks through March 18. It was scheduled to expire in mid-January.
Those proposals came about quickly, underscoring the urgency for the White House to act ahead of winter, when the virus can spread more easily among people indoors, and since the discovery of a worrisome new variant of COVID-19. The first U.S. case of the omicron variant was discovered in California and reported by the administration Wednesday.
Here is rundown of the new requirements and their likely impact.
TESTING BEFORE FLIGHTS TO U.S.
The White House said that early next week, the United States will begin requiring all inbound international travelers to test for COVID-19 within one day of their flight to the U.S., regardless of their nationality or vaccination status. That will replace a similar three-day requirement in effect since early November, when the administration scrapped country-specific travel bans.
The Transportation Security Administration will extend the requirement to wear a mask on planes, trains, subways and other public transportation including airports and bus terminals through the winter. Fines, which were doubled earlier this year, will remain in a range of $500 to $3,000.
The mask rule has become a flashpoint on flights, and some in the airline industry are eager to see the mandate go away. Airlines have reported more than 5,000 incidents of unruly passengers to federal authorities since the start of the year, with about three-fourths of the events involving passengers who refuse to wear a mask.