Americans could be faced with tighter travel restrictions within the U.S. as the coronavirus outbreak gains a stronger foothold.
The federal government has already implemented a ban on most travelers from Europe, Iran, and China, and over the weekend it was expanded that ban to include the U.K and Ireland.
President Trump on Saturday urged against discretionary domestic travel.
“If you don’t have to travel, I wouldn’t do it. We want this thing to end. We don’t want a lot of people getting infected,” he said.
On Sunday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said “all options remain on the table” when asked at a White House press conference whether the administration is considering a halt of domestic air travel.
Many companies have stopped domestic travel for employees. Several government agencies, including the Defense Department now prohibit nearly all government-funded travel, both domestically and abroad.
Already airlines, making cuts to capacity and scrambling to find other places to save cash, have urged the government to consider that any ban on flights within the U.S. would require time for travelers to get back home, as well as to allow carriers to get their crews and employees to their bases.
If the administration takes action it would be the first time the U.S. instituted a blanket air travel ban since the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.