It is not easy to get to the United States and leave the country also takes effort, but once you reach your destination, it seems that it is not so bad. “Anyone who will soon board a flight to the United States should be able to submit a negative PCR test that has been taken no later than 24 hours before takeoff,” explains Chris van der Meeren, federal physician at Belgian Cycling. “We will do the last test next Sunday, everything is well organized.”
Anyone who submits a negative PCR status report is allowed to board the plane. But once you arrive in the US, the rules will become much more flexible, according to European standards anyway. “The World Cup protocol that the UCI gave us is already much less stringent than our protocol that we will continue to use,” said the federal doctor, who insists strict rules would be followed in Fayetteville, also outside the cycle. Mouth mask, bubbles for each category, isolate as necessary and according to self-limiting rules.
“No one wears a mouth mask”
But once on the right track? It actually comes down to this: only riders, escorts and the public are required to wear a mouth mask. It is not necessary to prove that you have received the vaccination. And it’s also not surprising when you learn that in Arkansas barely half the population was actually infected. “We’re worried anyway,” Dutch coach Gerben de Kneigt told sister newspaper De Telegraaf. “We have already been informed by local contacts that in Fayetteville itself hardly anyone wears a mouth mask.”
The UCI protocol only requires the mouth mask to be properly worn at the World Cup site, FFP2 if possible, but surgery is sufficient if there is no other option. The riders or the public do not have to prove that they have been vaccinated, the liability of all those present is basically counted. Two metres, proper use of a mouth mask, and regular hand disinfection. And that’s it.
The situation in Arkansas? Not very rosy, as it turns out. The state of three million has 3,213 new cases of COVID-19, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and 1,487 people have been hospitalized with COVID. This was a record for this “forgotten” condition, which they attribute to the low number of vaccinated populations.
The riders themselves are not worried
What about the athletes themselves? They didn’t seem to be worried much, once they boarded the flight to the US on Monday morning. Then the main obstacle is removed.