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Most Recent Travel Regulations and Testing Updates

January 27, 2021

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • Testing protocols and requirements for international flights to the US are in place as of January 26th, 2021. 
  • Testing protocol and travel back to the US is EASY, and tests are readily available in all Yellow Dog international destinations where we send anglers. 
  • The new protocols alone should not constitute a reason to cancel your trip or change your existing trip dates in the months ahead!
  • Trip insurance should be obtained by all travelers pre-trip in the case of additional unforeseen events or expenses.

On January 12th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new order requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the United States. This new order – effective January 26th, 2021 – applies to all air passengers, two (2) years of age or older, traveling into the US. This includes US citizens and legal permanent residents.

The team at Yellow Dog has been working hard to address these new requirements, and we have been working closely with our international destinations to prepare for the new testing regulations by recognizing and confirming accessible testing sites, protocols, and procedures for our international travelers. 

Below are answers to current and frequently asked questions related to the newly issued CDC orders:

What do the new regulations specifically say?
If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air back into the United States. You will need to show your negative result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline before you board your flight or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

Do the new regulations mean that I should cancel my travel plans in the weeks or months ahead?
This new order does NOT prohibit you from traveling internationally in the near future to destinations such as Belize, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Mexico, and other countries that are presently open to tourism. While testing regulations may make international travel a bit more challenging in the weeks ahead, it is important to keep in mind that travel regulations are constantly fluctuating and evolving. With increased vaccine distribution and what we hope will be the continued decline of day-to-day U.S. COVID-19 cases, it is hard to predict how things will change and evolve in the next 30-to-60 days.

Should I be traveling in the weeks ahead if I am nervous to leave the country?
That is a question that you have to answer on your own, and everyone should do their research and educate themselves on the facts when making travel decisions. Fishing is supposed to be fun, and we are here to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible! We do know that the major airlines as well as our lodge partners are working incredibly hard to provide safe and clean travel situations, and they are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of their customers. And Yellow Dog is also here to help, with travel updates, testing information and locations, and services to make your journey as easy as possible.

What kind of documentation of my test result do I need to present?
CDC requires that air passengers arriving in the U.S. have a paper or electronic copy of their test result for review by the airline before you board and for potential review by public health officials after you arrive in the U.S.

Who is checking to make sure that people have a negative test or documentation of recovery before they board a plane to the US?
The airline will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding. Travelers will most likely be asked to provide documentation of a negative test result when checking in for your flight back to the United States. For the immediate future, airline representatives are required to deny boarding to travelers who do not have the proper documentation. (If you do plan to travel with a paper copy of your negative test result, be sure to snap a picture of it using your phone as well!)

What if I have already had a COVID-19 vaccine or have tested positive for antibodies? Do I still need a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19?
Yes, at this time all air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination or antibody status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery. This may change in the near future, and regulations are evolving.

How do I find a testing site while I’m abroad?
If you booked your trip through Yellow Dog, you can rest assured that we will work with you and the lodge to make certain you have access to rapid, reliable testing while aboard. Many of our lodges are already offering on-site testing, which means that with certain destinations, you’ll never have to leave the lodge to get this done!

What if I recently recovered from COVID-19?
CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had a positive viral test in the past 3 months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”

Does this order apply to all flights? Or just commercial flights?
This order applies to all international flights, including private flights and general aviation aircraft (charter flights). Passengers traveling by air into the US are required to have proof of testing regardless of flight type.

Do I need to get a test before leaving the US?
At this time, the CDC does not have a testing requirement for outbound travelers but recommends that you get tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen) 1-3 days before you travel internationally. Travelers should check entry requirements for their international destination, as most countries are requiring negative test results.  

Will my health insurance or trip insurance cover the cost of a rapid test that I may have to pay for abroad?
Most of these rapid tests run from $50 to $200 depending on location and country. The experts at Kanna Travel can happily answer any questions about what may or may not be covered by your specific travel insurance policy (a policy that Yellow Dog always recommends for any trip!) Please call Kanna directly at 855-739-3139.

How far in advance should I get a test before I return home?
You need to be tested within three days before your flight home. Thankfully, the lodges that we work with already have reliable testing options in place, and Yellow Dog will make sure that you have up-to-date, relevant information before you depart for your trip. With many fishing destinations that are currently open (the Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico) direct flights back to the U.S. are easily booked and arranged.

I’m traveling to fish in Montana or another U.S. state. Do I need to get tested?
These new testing regulations only apply to international travelers. Each state has its own regulations; however, so be sure to read up on the destination to which you are headed. The good news is that all of our U.S.-based fishing destinations are currently open and fishing!

REGIONAL TESTING INFORMATION AND UPDATES (January 26, 2021)

BAHAMAS
The Government of The Bahamas has successfully implemented measures to protect its citizens, residents, and visitors, and is well-positioned to adhere to this new order – seamlessly integrating the new CDC testing requirements into The Bahamas’ existing COVID-19 protocols. Currently, visitors to The Bahamas who stay longer than four nights and five days are required to take a rapid antigen test on the fifth day of their stay, with a number of testing sites throughout The Bahamas and the Bahamian out-islands approved to administer tests. This means travelers readily have access to the viral tests required to enter the U.S. A new testing facility has also opened in the Nassau airport in Terminal C, and rapid testing is available for a fee of $40. In some cases, our operators are actually offering on-site rapid tests at the lodge, which means that there will be no interruptions to your travel and fishing schedule.

BELIZE
Travelers departing Belize have access to expanded COVID-19 testing capacity in Belize City, on location at the Phillip Goldson International Airport, and on location in San Pedro, Placencia, Caye Caulker, Punta Gorda, and at several other locations throughout Belize. Yellow Dog has a full list of locations and options available for all fishing destinations throughout Belize. The expanded testing capacity follows the Centers for Disease Control [CDC]’s policy change requiring passengers arriving in the U.S. to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test beginning January 26. Belize Tourism Board officials have implemented stringent health and safety protocols under the country’s Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program, aimed at enhancing hotel and restaurant cleaning practices and tourism organization operating procedures.

MEXICO (Yucatan Peninsula)
All of the lodges that Yellow Dog works with on the Yucatan Peninsula have a testing plan in place, with tests available either on-site or through rapid-test locations in the immediate area. Most of the hotels and resorts in Cancun are also offering on-site testing services and some are including this service in the room cost. There are several testing sites in the Cancun area, and more are being opened in the days and weeks ahead. The Cancun International Airport (CUN) has just announced an advanced rapid test center in the departure terminal. This was just announced, and we are expecting more news in the days and weeks ahead. Yellow Dog is also recommending that all anglers get a Covid test prior to leaving the US as well to avoid any issues caused by a traveler with an asymptomatic case. Although the Mexican Government does not currently require a negative test to enter the country, we feel that it is important for everyone to do this prior to traveling.

Here is a recent and very relevant article talking about what it was like to re-enter the U.S. on the first day of the new testing requirements. Worth a read for those that are interested!

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us at Yellow Dog and we will be happy to assist you. In addition, please continue to check the Yellow Dog website for up-to-date travel information and relevant news.

 


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