WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden plans to require essential nonresident travelers crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers and emergency response officials, to be fully vaccinated beginning on Jan. 22.
A senior administration official said the requirement brings the rules for essential travelers in line with those that took effect earlier this month for leisure travelers, when the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals.
Essential travelers entering by ferry will also be required to be fully vaccinated by the same date.
The administration official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement.
These rules affect non-U.S. nationals. American citizens and permanent residents of the nation can still enter the country regardless of their vaccination status, but unvaccinated people face more rigorous testing constraints to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a rule that said companies with 100 or more employees must ensure that their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or that they test negative for the virus at least once a week. However, that rule has been delayed by litigation. Still, the White House is encouraging businesses to implement their own mandates regardless of what the federal government requires.
As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that about 59% of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That still leaves 41% of the country not fully vaccinated against the virus.