KRISTINE FRAZAO (SINCLAIR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT): In the quest to get the travel industry back on track, new fears its momentum from the last few months may soon come to a screeching halt.
ROGER DOW (U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT & CEO): My biggest concern is these vaccine mandates are going to have a negative effect on the ability to staff, from TSA, from pilots, and all this. And we really have to be smart.
FRAZAO: Roger Dow is president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, and pressed DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about those mandates during a travel summit in Washington.
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS (HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY): We’re very focused on this. We have a ways to go. We’re in the homestretch. And we are optimistic, though cautiously so. But we’ve got a ways to go.
FRAZAO: Many major airlines will be requiring employees to comply with the federal December 8 vaccine mandate deadline, while those who work for Amtrak and the Transportation Security Administration will be required to get the shot before November 22. That’s two days before what is often the busiest travel day of the year.
DOW: They have a problem. They do have a challenge. And will they have enough of people at TSA and all that? Will enough people still save their jobs? And I think we’re going get right down to the wire as everything happens in government.
FRAZAO: We are now less than two weeks away from when the United States will be reopening to international travelers from most countries. Those over the age of 18 will have to show proof of vaccination, and most others will have to show a negative COVID test. It will fall on airline workers to check those documents.
As with shortages in supplies, which has prompted business leaders to ask the Biden administration to extend vaccine mandate deadlines, Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) hopes they’ll consider doing the same for those employed by the travel industry.
SEN. SHELLY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV): If we get into a situation where we’re traveling and we have long lines or we get turned away for one reason or the otherM it just adds to that uncertainty. and I think it will really depress our economy.
FRAZAO: An economy just now on the road to recovery.