Why I oppose a quarantine for international travelers

Jan 25, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

This viewpoint from The Points Guy’s Brian Kelly was originally published in his weekly newsletter. Sign up to receive curated travel intel from Brian Kelly.


We watched a new president take the oath of office last week. But it was the outgoing Trump administration that enacted a new rule that goes into effect on Jan. 26: All travelers arriving in the U.S. will need a negative COVID-19 test before entering — or in the case of Americans, re-entering — the country.

I’ve been a proponent of testing and contact tracing throughout the pandemic as a means to keep travel going, so this new rule is promising.

Brian Kelly (Photo by The Points Guy)

In the coming days, we should learn more about other measures the Biden administration will take to curb the spread of coronavirus. It’s already mandated mask usage in federal buildings, on airplanes, trains and aboard transit systems traveling between states.

Read more about the state of travel under the Biden administration:

Will there be a mandatory quarantine?

While I applaud the new testing measures for entry to the U.S., I hope the new administration does not add a mandatory 14-day quarantine on top of that.

Many destinations — from Hawaii to Rwanda — have implemented successful testing upon arrival and/or departure policies. Case in point: Alberta, Canada’s international border testing pilot program, which allows a reduced quarantine period for travelers entering with a negative COVID-19 test, has helped keep the country safe from the further spread of the disease. Passengers entering select airport and border crossings in Alberta that don’t have a negative COVID-19 test need to quarantine for 14 days.

Sign up for TPG’s new weekly newsletter written by Brian Kelly.

COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while. While there are several viable vaccines, the rollout is going slower than expected and it’s more important than ever that we learn to live safely with the threat of coronavirus. That means adopting all common-sense safety protocols and not hindering the economy or freedom of movement with long-duration quarantines when there are better alternatives.

A 14-day quarantine for all travelers entering the U.S. would crush tourism here and in places like Mexico and the Caribbean that rely on American visitors to contribute to their economic bottom line.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the U.S. should embrace international travel. We can build partnerships with other countries for robust departure and re-entry testing programs that will reduce the need for long-duration quarantines. This is a win-win for both countries involved as well as for their local and macro economies.

We need to come together and do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe from COVID-19 while continuing to live our lives and grow the economy.

Featured image by Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.