Traveling During the COVID-19 Pandemic
For almost two years, most of us minimized travel as much as possible to avoid getting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. Our efforts are working, and infection numbers have gone down in many states. Not surprisingly, after being in lock-down for so long, people are eager to travel again. This summer, airlines began flying at nearly full capacity and some cruise lines are sailing again. But, we’re not in the clear yet, so certain restrictions remain.
If you are planning to travel this year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), has recommendations for those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
If you are not fully vaccinated:
- The CDC cautions against travel. The COVID-19 virus and all its variants are highly contagious and are particularly harmful to those with underlying medical conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.
- If you must travel, get a viral test 1-3 days before travel.
- If you test positive, postpone the trip. You should not travel if you are sick or test positive with COVID-19. Also, do not travel with someone who is sick.
- If you test negative, then follow all the usual safety guidelines:
- Wear a mask while traveling on public transportation or inside transportation hubs, like airports and stations.
- Stay 6 feet apart from others.
- Wash your hands often and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without cleaning your hands first.
- After you travel, get a viral test 3-5 days later and quarantine for 7 days. If you choose not to get tested, then self-quarantine for 10 days.
- The CDC also recommends that after returning, you should avoid people who are at increased risk of severe illness for 14 days.
If you are fully vaccinated:
“Fully vaccinated” means it has been 2 weeks since your last dose.
- Wear a mask while traveling and maintain social distancing where possible.
- Testing is not necessary if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous 3 months.
- Given the virus variants that are emerging, you may still get infected while traveling. If you begin to feel COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and quarantine yourself.
- If you test positive, self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid infecting others.
If you plan to travel to another country, it is important to know that country’s COVID-19 restrictions. For instance, you may need to provide proof of a negative viral test taken 3 days before entering the country. They may also require that you purchase travel insurance. Check the official tourism or embassy website for the country you plan to visit to see their COVID-19 rules and restrictions. The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Advisories website is a good resource for links to those sites.