05 Aug Travel Safety Tips During the Coronavirus
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Charmaine and the staff at Senior Living Consultants
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After sheltering at home for several months you may be ready to travel–if you haven’t taken a vacation already. However, before you embark on a trip, there are some questions to ask yourself: Is it safe to travel during the coronavirus pandemic? Is it safe to travel where I am going? Should I fly or drive? Are there any travel restrictions where I am headed?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have outlined answers to these questions, and more, if you are considering travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Consider not traveling and staying home since travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, according to the CDC. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from illness. Remember, people over 65, especially with underlying health conditions are at the greatest risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
- You may become exposed to COVID-19 while traveling, not have any symptoms, but still spread the virus to others, thereby exposing another community to the infection.
- Once you arrive home you may spread COVID-19 to other people in your family and community up to 14 days after exposure.
- Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.
- For travel in the United States, several states have restrictions for people coming from certain hotspot areas. For example, many ask visitors (or residents returning home) to self-quarantine for 14 days if coming from a state with a surge in coronavirus cases. This includes: Arizona; Connecticut; Pennsylvania; Florida; Hawaii; Illinois; Kansas; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; and Vermont Check the public health department of the county and/or state to which you are traveling to determine if government restrictions will affect you.
- For international travel many countries are not allowing Americans to entry. This includes Canada, most of Europe, parts of South America, India, Thailand, and Indonesia. For a list of updated travel restrictions by country go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.
Types of Travel
Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. It may be hard to social distance when traveling. In general, the longer you are around a person with COVID-19, the more likely you are to get infected.
- Air travel
The biggest risk of flying is spending time at the airport terminal and gate area in security lines, boarding, and then exiting the plane. This all requires you to be in close contact with other people. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Check the website of the air carrier you are flying to determine their safety policy during this time. Some airlines are blocking the middle seat or reducing capacity.
- Bus or train travel
Traveling on buses and trains for any length of time can involve sitting or standing within 6 feet of others, which may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.
- Car travel
Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces.
- RV travel
You may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but RV travel usually means staying at RV parks overnight and getting gas and supplies at other public places. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others.
If You Travel
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6′ (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Bring disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces in airplanes, hotel rooms, and other surfaces.