While most of the global travel restrictions introduced to control the spread of COVID-19 have been removed, CDC has just announced a new requirement for passengers traveling from China to the US.
From January 5th, 2023, all air passengers entering the US from China, Hong Kong, or Macau must show a negative COVID-19 test or recovery documentation. This is due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in China, and these new measures have been put in place to help slow the spread of the virus.
What does this mean for air passengers from China?
All air passengers (aged two years and older) must get a PCR or antigen test no more than two days before they depart China, Hong Kong, or Macau, regardless of their vaccination status or nationality.
This includes passengers traveling from these countries via third-country transit and from China via the US to further destinations.
If passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 more than ten days before their flight, they will likely still receive a positive PCR test result. In this case, they can obtain proof of recovery, enabling them to enter the US.
What does this mean for my events?
If you are expecting international travelers for your event, which may include people traveling from China, Hong Kong, or Macau, ensure that you communicate this new requirement well in advance of their travel plans.
It may be worth putting contingency plans in place for attendees from the affected countries. If they test positive and can no longer travel to your event, you could consider hosting a hybrid event, whereby affected attendees can join remotely while others meet in person. If this is the case, you may need to consider elements such as:
- Time zones – China is 13-16 hours ahead of the US, so it will be tricky to find a meeting time that falls within both sets of working hours. Instead, consider pre-recording parts of your event or providing on-demand access
- Access – how can attendees from China dial into your event?
- Hybrid interaction – how can remote attendees communicate with hosts, presenters, and other attendees?
Is it safe to hold in-person events?
CDC has extensive guidance on COVID-19 and any necessary precautions, including travel restrictions, vaccination updates, and state- and county-level COVID-19 statistics.
If you follow the CDC’s advice, holding in-person events should be perfectly safe. The new China-US testing requirement is in place to protect US citizens and slow the virus’s spread and is a preventative measure.
To ensure you’re abiding by best-practice health and safety advice, take a look at our PPE for Meetings and Onsite Meeting Sanitation, Safety, and Resource guides. These provide helpful advice not just for events with attendees from China but for all in-person events to help you prioritize the safety of your attendees, staff, and venue employees.
Should I postpone my in-person events?
Generally, there is no need to postpone your in-person events based on the new CDC testing requirements.
The exception may be if you’re hosting an event in the US where you’re expecting a lot of attendees from China. While the testing requirements should keep your attendees safe, surging COVID-19 rates in China may disrupt travel plans, so you could consider postponing until rates are lower.
However, many Americans still take extra precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, such as minimizing indoor socializing or wearing masks. Regardless of the official guidance, continue to provide hand sanitizer, great ventilation, and a supply of masks for those who want them. Ensure that your in-person meetings accommodate these attendees.