Does the delta variant cause travel restrictions?

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The Delta variant is spreading rapidly throughout the United States, and several local jurisdictions are reassessing their current public health protocols. Will this variant lead to a revival of travel restrictions in the US and potentially the world? Here are some of the latest figures regarding the variant.

Where is the delta variant spread?

The Delta variant is the diagnosed strain in at least 80% of the tests in these conditions:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Kansas
  • Missouri

However, the Delta variant (first identified in India in December 2020) is also widespread throughout the United States and accounts for approximately 60% of new cases of coronavirus throughout the United States.

Other nations across the globe are also struggling with the highly transferable Delta variant. The United Kingdom is one such nation that indicates that international visitors will not be able to visit in the near future.

A common feature for states with the highest infection rates is low vaccination rates. Although being fully vaccinated does not guarantee that you are immune to this variant, it helps prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and even death in most cases.

Other variants also apply

While Delta is the most common variant in many U.S. regions, two other variants make the rounds. For example, the Gamma variant (originally identified in Brazil) is significantly more common in Chicago and Illinois than the Delta variant. The Lambda variant (originally identified in Peru) has a more significant effect on countries other than the United States.

Airlines may not see a decline in travel demand – yet.

Domestic aviation directors have not yet seen a decline in airline ticket purchases despite the somewhat rapid increase in Delta variant cases. An increase in travel restrictions may reverse this trend.

Revenge, however, remains the prevailing mood. Many Americans long to explore the country and the globe to visit family or an escape.

Mask mandates return

As cases of coronavirus increase but remain below pandemic heights, some communities either reintroduce or encourage mask mandates. Los Angeles County is currently the largest metropolitan area, again requiring masks in public places. The LA mandate ended on June 15, 2021, but re-entered into force on July 17, 2021 for all, regardless of their vaccination status.

Las Vegas has not required tourists to wear masks, but since July 21, 2021, employees must wear masks. New Orleans and Orlando are two other popular destinations that strongly encourage the public to wear masks regularly, but there is not a local mask mandate in these cities.

Guidelines for the CDC

The CDC currently recommends fully vaccinated people wearing a mask in an indoor public setting. Travelers and residents should also wear masks in outdoor areas where infection rates are high. CDC Covid Tracker Map indicates the degree of positivity by county.

Also, the CDC continues to recommend travel only to fully vaccinated travelers.

Are lockdowns imminent?

At present, it appears that U.S. states and cities do not want to reintroduce lockdowns to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. But if cases continue to rise, we could see regional shutdowns. International destinations may also prohibit non-essential travelers.


While the Delta variant and other variants do not yet limit travel, a continued increase in confirmed cases and admissions could lead to regional lockdowns and stricter entry requirements, as we saw in 2020.

Related articles:

  • Updates and restrictions for travel to Hawaii
  • USA travels to Europe update
  • Space travel updates: When can we travel to space?

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