MIAMI, Fla. – The Biden administration confirmed there is no plan nor consideration of a travel ban to quell the spread of the COVID-19 UK variant, despite a news report hinting that there is one.
Despite a headline that reads, “White House looks at domestic travel restrictions as COVID mutation surges in Florida,” the text of the article indicates no such detail.
The Miami Herald article published Wednesday afternoon quotes a White House official answering a question about the virus UK mutation: “...we’re having conversations about anything that would help mitigate spread.”
Several paragraphs later, the article quotes two other officials clarifying that “...no policy announcements are imminent, and that any move to restrict travel or impose new health measures would be taken in partnership with state and local governments.” No such contact has been initiated with Florida state nor local governments. But the headline, amplified nationwide, sparked a harsh, politically-tinged public backlash from Florida leaders at all levels who were unaware that no travel ban is under consideration.
Based on a briefing about the article, Gov. Ron DeSantis diverted from a vaccine announcement in Port Charlotte, Fla., to call such a plan “unconstitutional, unwise and unjust.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sourced the report as the basis for a letter to President Joe Biden urging him “not pursue these draconian travel restrictions...”
On a Fox News panel Thursday, Senator Rubio criticized the alleged proposal as inconsistent with President Biden’s past statements on travel.
”He tweeted out that banning travel from anywhere did not work so now to read that they’re considering actual restrictions on Americans inside the country, I think it’s unconstitutional.”
Broward County Mayor Steve Geller, a Democrat, stopped short of criticizing the news, instead telling reporters, " I just heard about it this morning — I don’t have one detail on that.” The Biden Administration policy on travel remains consistent with those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, which encourages essential travel only.