The United States

Ranked at the top of the Agility index, the US may not have implemented a federally mandated lockdown like many other Western countries, but its market-driven economy enabled an adaptability that spurred quick innovation in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Look at how fast delivery services and restaurants were able to alter their businesses, delivering food to people’s homes,” said John Rose, a California resident and chief risk and security officer for travel company Altour. “There wasn’t a lot of unnecessary regulation saying that restaurants can’t deliver food or can’t operate with just a handful of people.”

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The food industry was just a microcosm of the flexibility of the country overall, said Rose, as other businesses were able to quickly adapt to the pandemic landscape, whether it was producing masks or hand sanitiser, or enabling technology like video conferencing to allow people to work from home more efficiently.

Different states were able to enact wildly different policies depending on their specific needs as well, which created 50 unique ways to respond to the pandemic. “California and Florida handled the pandemic in polar opposite ways, with California having extreme lockdowns and Florida balking at every restriction,” said Rose. “And yet both their economies did really well. It came down to strong leadership of a policy.”

At the national level, mask mandates in airplanes and airports enabled travellers to continue travelling here with confidence as well, which kept travel and its economic benefits open throughout the pandemic. The government still requires international travellers to be fully vaccinated.

Travellers should know that vaccine rates among residents vary widely by state and even county, with some cities having a much higher vaccination rate and readiness to welcome visitors back safely. Rose recommends checking the county you’re visiting rather than at the state levels, for the most accurate information.

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