Michelle Fishman calls it the “worst-case scenario that you don’t really think through.” After a three-week vacation in Greece, the 52-year-old hotel art consultant from Miami and her husband took pre-departure coronavirus tests required to fly home from overseas. She tested positive, he did not Backdoor.
Although coronavirus travel restrictions have eased across many parts of the world, the United States still requires all international air passengers to present a negative test taken within one day of departure. And according to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ms. Fishman should have isolated and delayed travel for 10 days, but she said she had to get home earlier to officiate at a wedding.
Instead, she took advantage of a quirk in the rules to head home after five days (the mandatory self-isolation period required by the Greek government) via a “backdoor” — crossing into the United States by land, which does not require a coronavirus test, rather than by air. Because Canada does not require a test for entry, the couple first flew to Toronto and, after spending a night there, Ms. Fishman and her husband drove across the border into Buffalo and caught a flight home. (There is no testing requirement for flying domestically.)
“I had zero symptoms, no fever, nothing. I felt fine and when you’re stateside, the C.D.C. says you can end isolation five days after testing positive, so the same rules should apply when I’m traveling,” Ms. Fishman said. “It makes no sense that I can go to a wedding five days after a positive test in Miami, but if I catch the virus when I’m on vacation I can’t fly home. That should be illegal.”