LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – All passengers on domestic flights would be required to be either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a recent negative test, under a new bill proposed by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act submitted Wednesday by Feinstein would also allow unvaccinated people who have already contracted COVID-19 to provide proof that they have fully recovered in lieu of a negative test.
Feinstein cited a potential winter surge of COVID-19 cases as an impetus for the legislation. In 2020, cases surged between Thanksgiving and Christmas, prompting major lockdowns nationwide.
"We know that air travel during the 2020 holiday season contributed to last winter's devastating COVID-19 surge," Feinstein said in a statement. "We simply cannot allow that to happen again."
There are currently no testing or vaccination requirements for domestic flights. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires all passengers age 2 and older flying into the U.S. from foreign countries to get a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of their flight, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or U.S. citizens. Last week, the Biden administration announced that, beginning in early November, the travel ban would be lifted for all fully vaccinated foreigners, allowing them to fly to the U.S.
Meanwhile, there has been an uptick in unruly behavior by passengers nationwide, the vast majority linked to mask mandates. So far this year, the Federal Aviation Administration has reported at least 3,988 incidents of unruly passenger behavior. Of those, 2,928 involved individuals who refused to comply with the mask mandate.
Early this month, a California woman was charged with federal assault after she allegedly attacked a Southwest Airlines attendant on a flight from San Diego to Sacramento in May.
The Transportation and Security Administration has extended the mask requirement aboard flights through at least January of 2022. It has also doubled the fine for those refusing to wear a mask on public transportation.
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