As part of running our website, we follow posts on Facebook and Twitter which give us an idea about what people are talking about on the interwebs. Over the past week, I’ve seen numerous Tweets and RTs about an issue I’m having mixed thoughts about. While we have no details on the particulars, the underlying issue is one where I find myself surprisingly conflicted.
Is it wrong to exploit gaps in the rules to enter places you’d otherwise be unable to visit?
For example, if you lived in the United Kingdom and wanted or needed to visit the United States, what would you do to make that happen?
As per the current border restrictions, you wouldn’t be able to visit the US directly from the UK. As per the CDC:
With specific exceptions, several Presidential proclamations suspend and limit entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.
- European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City)
- United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
Non-US residents can’t enter the US if they’ve been to any of these countries for 14 days before their arrival, regardless of vaccination status or a negative COVID test required for anyone else entering the US. Some countries listed include ones with higher vaccination and lower infection rates than the US, meaning someone leaving from Iceland can’t visit the COVID hotbed of Florida. It doesn’t make much sense, does it?
However, rules are rules. People from the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Brazil, and other countries would love the visit the US but have had to put their holidays (vacations) on hold because of the restrictions.
But if what you could get around those restrictions?
Since we live in Orlando and still visit the theme parks, we can tell you there are still plenty of foreign accents to be heard. While some of the theme park visitors live in the US, I’m sure some are traveling from elsewhere. How’d they get here?
It turns out that if you have the time and the money, there’s almost always a way to get around the rules.
For example, nothing keeps you from traveling to a country not on the excluded list for 2 weeks before flying to the US. For people wanting to visit on holiday, that’s a bit of a financial and time stretch. But if you don’t have any financial or work restrictions, feel free to work around the rules and there’s nothing we will say or do about it.
I’ve read about business people who needed to hold meetings in the US flying to Mexico or other non-excluded countries first. They worked from a hotel for 2 weeks before catching a flight to the US. They had to follow whatever restrictions were in place when returning home, but those rules are usually less restrictive and there are ways to get around them as well.
Using these workarounds might be acceptable when it’s for your job, but what about for a leisure trip?
I understand there’s a great deal of frustration for people who can’t visit the US right now because of restrictions. To them, the people going around the rules are just bragging about how they can travel while others can’t. As people who’ve been following guidelines and rules for the past 18 months, they want everyone to do the same.
People finding ways to hack border restrictions isn’t new. Plenty of people found loopholes to get around the closed US-Canada border.
The core of this question is should you be mad at someone who is following the letter of the law but not its intent?
That depends on how strongly you believe in the rules that people are breaking. If you feel that avoiding the restrictions puts you and others at risk, it’s appropriate to be angry. But if the rule doesn’t seem to make much sense, maybe you aren’t as upset when someone works around the edges.
As a rule follower, I want everyone to do the same. Restrictions are put in place for a reason. However, I don’t feel that traveling to a country for 2 weeks before coming to the US to get around the entry rules is inappropriate. If they have the time and money to do so and submit the same negative COVID test as everyone else, they’re no more or less of a risk than anyone else flying to the US.
However, I respect those who have a different opinion. Your Mileage May Vary.
Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.
Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary