This Week in Travel: Denver Ditches Mask Mandates

A man with a briefcase and a mask in one hand

In one of the biggest travel stories of the week, Denver has announced that the city’s face covering order will expire on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. The order, requiring face coverings indoors or proof of vaccination in lieu of them will not be extended.

A portrait of Rachel Bendick. She is a white woman with wavy highlighted hair and a black suit jacket
Rachel Benedick

Denver’s public health order expiration does not impact the federal requirement for face coverings on public transportation, including public transit networks, airplanes, buses, trains, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts. Emergency rooms, nursing homes and other facilities still require face covering.

The move is due to rapidly declining Covid-19 cases as well as stabilized hospital rates and increased access to vaccines.

Read More Travel News.

“We are happy to report that our mask/vaccine mandate will indeed expire on February 3rd, and we think this is a great step forward for our groups and businesses,” Rachel Benedick, Visit Denver executive vice president of sales and services told Smart Meetings. “Our Covid-19 numbers have been steadily decreasing since January, and we feel this is an optimistic sign that the meetings industry is moving forward. We support any additional health and safety measures our clients implement at their meetings and we could not be happier to see that the decline in Covid rates is allowing restrictions to loosen so we can return to successfully hosting even more meetings in Denver.”

Some cities like New York City and Los Angeles have so far kept indoor mask mandates in place. The mask mandate in New York State was recently challenged in court but remains in place at press time.

No More Testing Requirements for Vaccinated Passengers Traveling to the US, Pleads Airline Industry

Airlines for America (A4A) and U.S. Travel Association have signed a letter to Washington Covid-19 administrators pleading for the removal of testing requirements for vaccinated passengers traveling to the United States. A4A and U.S. Travel (along with scores of other travel and aviation organizations) asked that “the Administration remove the requirement for pre-departure testing for vaccinated passengers traveling to the United States. Doing so is justified by the pervasiveness of Covid cases in all 50 states, increased immunity and higher vaccination rates as well as new treatments. Removing the requirement will greatly support the recovery of travel and aviation in the United States and globally without increasing the spread of Covid-19 and its variants,” read a statement.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Covid Testing.

The plea comes as countries like Great Britain and Ireland have dropped Covid-19 mandates and as New Zealand has announced a gradual end to travel restrictions there to culminate in an October end to all restrictions on international travel.

On a CNN appearance, Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian swatted away the idea of Covid testing for domestic flights as “a logistical nightmare” that would “set transportation—and not just transportation but the whole hospitality sector—back at least another year in the recovery.”

Travel Consumers Are Still Wary Says Survey

Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker out this week shows data from its monthly survey finding a stall in business as well as leisure travel. Leisure travel fell from an average of $330 per survey respondent in September to $240 in December. Business travel saw a hit as well with 67% expecting to travel in the next three months down from 80% in September.

Checked Bags: The Final Frontier

Frontier Airlines has announced that the weight limit for checked bags will now be 40 rather than 50 pounds. Bag overage happens now at 41 pounds rather than 51.

The overweight bag fees, which are in addition to the fee to check the bag(s), will be $50 for bags between 41 pounds and 50 pounds and $100 for bags weighing 51 pounds to 100 pounds.

Read More: Packing Hacks.

Trend of the Week: As Covid-19 Omicron variant rates continue to decline around the country and worldwide, mask mandates and other restrictions are starting to fall away. New York City remains vigilant (some say hypervigilant) in restrictions and mandates. However, as new Mayor Eric Adams said recently in an interview on NY1 News, it is important to realize that NYC is uniquely space-restricted and dense and the original Covid-19 pandemic began to take fire here when the pandemic began, leaving memories of the virus that linger.

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