Travelers arriving in Los Angeles now required to sign new COVID-19 form

Nov 27, 2020

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As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the United States, Los Angeles is trying to put in some kind of enforcement of California’s new voluntary 14-day quarantine “recommendation.”

Any traveler arriving in Los Angeles by airplane or train will now be required to sign a form that they are aware of the new two-week self-quarantine request. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to $500.

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(Screenshot courtesy L.A. mayor’s office)

The city of Los Angeles city released a statement reading, “To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Los Angeles is requiring all travelers entering the city from another state or country to fill out this online form, acknowledging that they have read and understood California’s travel advisory.”

Related: State-by-state guide to coronavirus reopening

Coronavirus cases continue to surge with Los Angeles County especially hard-hit, and hospitals filling up at what’s being described as an “alarming rate.”

There will be signage at both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY). The form is now available at travel.lacity.org or by scanning the QR code posted at airports or train stations. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said:

 “COVID-19 is more dangerous than ever — and from LAX to our businesses to our homes, we have to take action to protect Angelenos and stop the spread of this virus. Our new form delivers a clear message: if you travel to our city, we want you to be informed of guidelines that will save lives and keep all of us healthy and safe.”

Earlier this month, California joined Washington state and Oregon in calling for the requested two-week quarantine.

JohnnyJet founder and editor-in-chief John E. DiScala told TPG, “It’s a good thought, but no one is going to abide by these rules unless there’s some kind of enforcement. Advisories won’t work. Fines will.”

Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research agreed. He told TPG, “It’s a soft quarantine. It is window dressing without enforcement.”

Related: California, Oregon and Washington request a 14-day quarantine.

Tim Jue is a San Francisco-based reporter covering airlines and travel. He told me:

“It’s an interesting move by the city of Los Angeles. No other municipality in California is doing this. While the recommended 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers arriving in California isn’t mandatory, you might get hit with a $500 fine if you don’t submit Los Angeles’s form that makes you aware of it. It looks like the city is trying to put some teeth into the state’s travel recommendation. We’ll see whether this works, and whether we see this kind of public health outreach expand to other places. Los Angeles has been implementing new restrictions recently to reduce the surging number of infections. It’s bad there.”

Related: Do you need a negative coronavirus test to fly?

Harteveldt told me that the problem with California’s rules is that they are, “rooted in March 2020 knowledge as opposed to November 2020 knowledge.” He said the state would be better served with a testing requirement that would eliminate the need for a long quarantine.

He said he preferred the approach of New York, which has an opt-out of quarantine with testing, “but California is approaching this quarantine in a very laid-back California like manner…it’s suggested not required.”  Harteveldt said a mandatory quarantine would further hurt California as a tourist destination, chilling what’s left of tourism demand right now. Still, he said it was the more logical way of handling the situation.

 Related: Are rapid COVID-19 tests the way to get people traveling again?

Harteveldt continued:

“Delta, for example for flights between Atlanta and Rome, they (travelers) will need a test before and after arrival which would exempt them from Italian quarantine potentially. It’s practical for all communities – city state or country -to start exploring options such as rapid result test or pre-flight and post-flight arrival. If travelers can be tested and it reduces the need for quarantine, it would be helpful to keep some parts of the economy open.”

Related: Delta to trial testing regimen for Atlanta/Rome flights

Harteveldt said, “The public health officials have a very tough job. When it comes to travel decisions, they need to talk to their colleagues and travel and tourism players to say, look, we need to make this change, here’s why, how do we do this to minimize the impact.”

For all things California, take a look at our Golden State hub.

Featured image of Hollywood, California by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images.

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