Travel agents push for change in international COVID-19 testing policy – NBC Connecticut

You can drive from Mexico or Canada to the United States without evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, but you cannot travel to the States without it.

Travel agents in Connecticut and across the country say it’s an executive order that needs to change.

No other countries require this test. “Other countries have realized that they are not going to change the spread of infection and that it is not required to get out of the country,” said Amanda Climack, president and co-owner of Largay Travel in Waterbury.

Climak is a member of the American Association of Travel Consultants.

She will be with fellow agents pressing Capitol Hill for a change later this month.

“Probably one of the most ridiculous and irrational legislation I have ever seen,” said Paul Largay, CEO of Largay Travel, whose family business has spanned over three generations.

Largay has not only heard of his clients having to quarantine overseas, but he was also on the same boat after disembarking from a river cruise in Lisbon, Portugal.

The doctor told me that I had to self-quarantine for seven days. The concierge corrected him and said, “No, no, they changed that to five,” he said. “This is our biggest frustration that no one knows the rules – including the doctors.”

Not only is the confusion and tension in countries overseas with US policies, but local agents say it also affects business and makes people rethink their travels.

Agents here in Connecticut have heard of people falsifying doctors’ notes or even traveling to Canada or Mexico and driving across the border to avoid getting caught overseas because driving to the US doesn’t require a test like flying.

“When you get back into the country, nobody in the United States is checking those test results, it all depends on people abroad when you check in for your flight,” Klimak said.

Largay Travel isn’t just telling us that the executive order isn’t working.

French’s Worldwide Travel says it’s a nightmare.

Even a Wethersfield Travel agent and her family are stuck in Aruba after her daughter tested positive mid-flight.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the executive order.

“At this time, international travel guidelines remain the same. The CDC is evaluating all guidance and orders based on the latest science and the status of the pandemic, and we will publicly notify any updates if and/or when they change,” a CDC spokesperson said. diseases.

“The fact that they’ve lowered the mask mandate on domestic flights and yet still continue testing, it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t know why the flight from New York to Los Angeles doesn’t require tests, but if you’re somehow traveling from Paris to New York, it’s more of a risk, Climac said.

NBC Connecticut agents have heard that having to quarantine is costing travelers thousands of dollars to extend their trip.

“It was a great ride, but it was an unhappy ending,” said Dan DeSoto of Sarasota, Florida.

A Christmas and anniversary adventure to Scotland and Ireland for DeSotos came to an unwanted end when they took COVID-19 tests the day before their flight home.

“Low and she comes out positive. I am negative, so we are shocked that she has no symptoms,” DeSoto said.

Two days later, DeSoto says he tested positive, and his wife’s tested negative, which means they extend their trip for a week to self-quarantine, costing him an extra $5,000 before he can go home.

Largay Travel agents say they have seen important people leave loved ones abroad only to catch COVID-19 when they return to the states or continue their days of quarantine in a foreign country due to another family member becoming ill.

“How do you come to terms with that the government will allow people to drive across the border, sail into the country, but if you want to travel to the country you have to test negative. Where is the rationale behind that?” Largay said.

DeSoto is the first to tell you he doesn’t want to spread the coronavirus, but he says the rule doesn’t make sense.

“When the test result came back negative, I couldn’t get out of the hotel fast enough.”

The travel agents we spoke to said they didn’t want to discourage anyone from traveling abroad. They just hope the rule will be changed.

In the meantime, they are urging travelers to get travel insurance that will protect them if they fall ill before or during their trip.

They suggest you get tested before you leave for a flight and in the middle of the flight, so if you test positive, you can start the quarantine instead of the hours before your flight.

And of course, they say having an agent is an advantage because they can help you rebook if needed.

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