How Airline and Hotel Vaccine Requirements for Staff Will Impact Travelers

New York City’s Public Hotel became one of the first hotels to require proof of vaccination for all staff, guests, and visitors. Anyone staying at the hotel or dining at its restaurant must show a vaccine card or passport upon arrival. “We need to beat COVID-19 together,” said owner Ian Schrager in a press release. “After all, looking after people is our business. We just didn’t see how to fulfill this responsibility without taking action.”

The Urban Cowboy Lodge in the Catskills, New York, is also requiring proof of vaccination for guests of the hotel and those dining indoors at its on-site restaurant, along with Pilgrim House Inn in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Equinox Hotel in New York City. Hotel group Elite Islands Resorts, which has nine properties in the Caribbean, is also requiring guests to show proof of vaccination upon arrival, and Puerto Rico is mandating vaccine proof for visitors staying at hotels and short-term vacation rentals.

Restaurants are also starting to require vaccinations for staff and guests. Union Square Hospitality Group, which runs restaurants in New York, Washington D.C., and other cities, is requiring all employees and diners to show proof of vaccination or, “you can dine somewhere else, and you can also go work somewhere else,” Danny Meyer, the company’s CEO, told CNN. Many independent restaurants across the country are now requiring diners to show proof of vaccination.

Similarly, other travel-adjacent events and attractions are requiring guests to show proof of vaccination. The Las Vegas Raiders team will require all spectators at its NFL football games to show vaccine proof—or get a shot at the stadium. Whether of their own accord or because of city-wide mandates, concert venues, casinos, museums, and even some state fairs are requiring proof of vaccination for patrons. As more and more cities and private companies within the travel sector follow suit, travelers can expect proof of vaccination to become an increasingly common part of travel and daily life.

What does this mean for travelers?

These new—and growing—vaccination requirements from travel-related businesses add another layer of complexity to planning a trip. To navigate these rules, first research the country, state, or city guidelines for vaccine proof or testing requirements; also look into whether a destination requires a specific vaccine pass or certificate, which requires sending or uploading vaccination proof or a negative test result in exchange for a digital or physical QR code that can be presented and scanned at museums, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Next, lay out a detailed itinerary for the trip and check individual businesses’ websites and social media accounts for their most current vaccination policies. Working with a travel advisor or specialist can also help.

Travelers should bring their country’s official vaccination card or digital health pass and expect to show them at a business’s door or entrance. Prepare for delays and some potential confusion while companies work out the kinks of enforcing these measures. “These are unchartered waters,” says Peter Vlitas, executive vice president of global airline relations for Internova Travel Group.

New York has implemented city-wide vaccine requirements for access to indoor dining, recreation and entertainment venues.


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