President Joe Biden plans to require thorough vaccinations for essential non-resident travelers crossing US land borders, such as truck drivers and emergency response officers, starting January 22.
A senior administration official said the requirement, which was previewed by the White House in October, brings rules for essential travelers in line with those that were in effect for leisure travelers earlier this month, when the US completed the had reopened its borders to vaccinated individuals.
The official said essential passengers entering by ferry would also need to be fully vaccinated by the same date. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to preview the announcement.
The rules pertain to non-US citizens. US citizens and permanent residents can still enter the US regardless of their vaccination status, but face additional testing barriers as officials believe they more easily contract and contract COVID-19. -19 and encourage them to get a shot.
The Biden administration pushed back the requirement for essential travelers by more than two months when it went into effect on November 8 to prevent disruptions to non-essential visitors, particularly among truckers who are involved in North American business. are important for. While most cross-border traffic was closed in the early days of the pandemic, essential commuters have been able to transit seamlessly.
However, despite the delay, Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the trucking group Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, criticized the vaccination requirement, calling it “how unnecessary government mandates can force experienced owner-operators and independent truck drivers out of business.” Huh. “
“These requirements are another example of how impractical regulations will send safe drivers off the road,” she said.
The latest deadline is beyond the point by which the Biden administration expects large businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly under an emergency regulation issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. That rule is now delayed by litigation, but the White House has encouraged businesses to implement their own mandate regardless of the federal requirement aimed at promoting vaccinations.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 47 million adults in the US have not been vaccinated.
Associated Press writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.