Essential nonresident workers who drive into the US have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 22, the White House was expected to announce.
Truck drivers, emergency responders and government officials will be held to the same rules as those traveling across the border from Canada or Mexico for pleasure, a top official in President Biden’s administration said Tuesday.
Under the new policy, American citizens and permanent residents would still be allowed to enter the US even if they had not rolled up their sleeves, but would face additional COVID-19 tests as a both a public health precaution and disincentive to remain unvaccinated, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The White House delayed a vaccination requirement for essential travelers earlier this month so as to not interrupt intracontinental trade, which has continued unabated since the start of the pandemic.
The upcoming regulations were panned as “unnecessary government mandates” by a trade association representing 150,000 drivers in the US and Canada.
“These requirements are another example of how impractical regulations will send safe drivers off the road,” said Norita Taylor, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association spokeswoman.
The border guidelines come as the White House continues to use legal maneuvers to increase the country’s inoculation rates. About 47 million adults in the country remained unvaccinated Tuesday, according to the CDC.
A sweeping Biden policy that would require workers at large companies to prove their vaccination status or submit to weekly testing and wear masks by Jan. 4 was paused by a federal court last week.
With AP wires
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