SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — President Joe Biden has toughened travel restrictions as new cases of the omicron variant emerge in the U.S.
Thursday, Biden updated travel restrictions for inbound international flights to the U.S. hoping to slow the spread of the omicron variant.
Starting next week, all travelers regardless of vaccination status will have to provide a negative COVID test taken 24 hours before departure.
Previously, those vaccinated had to take a test three days before arriving back in the U.S.
"This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of protection as scientists continue to study the omicron variant," Biden said.
Sabrina LoPiccolo, the spokesperson for the San Diego International Airport said airlines are responsible to check for negative COVID tests and vaccination status before passengers board the plane.
"If you've not provided that information, there's a chance they won't let you board the plane," she said.
LoPiccolo said right now, it's too early to tell the impact the new variant could have on the airport. However, she said they still have precautions in-place like extra cleaning and social distance signs that could help slow the spread.
"It's paramount for us that we keep our facilities as clean as possible so that if you have to travel, you're able to do so safely," LoPiccolo said.
Meanwhile, Alan Gin, an Economics Professor at the University of San Diego, said tighter testing may prove to be more challenging for people, which could lead to canceled trips.
"That could cost a few people the ability to make a trip and could affect the airlines a little bit," Gin said.
Biden also extended the mask mandate for domestic flights and public transportation through March 18.
If you have questions or concerns about what's required for your flight reach out to the airlines.