As the number of people vaccinated against the pandemic rises and nice weather becomes a tease, people are excitedly turning their attentions to travel. Whether you are journeying to a domestic or international destination or have plans for visitors, staying up to date on ever-changing travel restrictions or requirements is a must!
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Some Presidential proclamations have established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the United States in effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, the CDC currently requires that people who travel from an international destination get tested 3 to 5 days after travel and stay home and self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel. Should test results be positive, a person should isolate themselves from others to avoid spreading the infection. If someone does not get tested upon arrival, they must stay home and self-quarantine for ten days after travel. The CDC also advises people on handwashing, mask-wearing, social distancing, and more. It is one of the most valuable and up-to-date resources on the Coronavirus. Visit CDC.gov
- Observe state and local laws – Many of the states and local areas are easing restrictions related to the pandemic. For example, visitors to Alaska are no longer required to have a negative COVID-19 test result, though voluntary testing upon arrival is still encouraged. Some states, such as New Mexico, require that travelers from out-of-state quarantine while others, such as Florida, have no statewide restrictions. To obtain current travel requirements for trips to states within the USA, visit each state’s related health department’s website. For example, people wanting to travel to and from Pennsylvania should visit health.pa.gov. This site provides up-to-date COVID-19 information for travelers, encouraging people to practice appropriate public health measures to slow the spread of the infection. They also recommend COVID Alert PA, a free mobile app that features an interactive COVID-19 symptom check-in, alerts for potential exposure, public health updates, and more. Not only does it work in Pennsylvania, but it also works in conjunction with other participating states.
- Check the rules of your travel resource – The Transportation Security Administration continues to adjust security operations in response to the global pandemic. Currently, the TSA has implemented the Executive Order on face masks at airport security checkpoints and throughout the transportation network. They have also launched a “Stay healthy. Stay Secure” initiative to help passengers through the screening process in the COVID-19 environment. Currently, the TSA has ordered all airline travelers to wear a mask throughout the travel experience. They also encourage people to arrive at the airport early for check-in and screenings to leave plenty of time to get to the departure gate. To learn more about TSA procedures and initiatives, visit tsa.gov. In addition, each airline has established safety guidelines. For example, Southwest Airlines closely monitors the ongoing government restrictions for travel and explains that each state or country may require varying levels of documentation, testing, and possible verification of test results. Visit individual websites for the latest news on trains, buses, or car rentals. If traveling by Amtrak train, visit amtrak.com for state-specific Coronavirus travel restrictions.
- Check out the official website of your international destination – The airlines generally list which international destinations are open and provide informational links. For example, Southwest Airlines currently lists destinations that remain open, such as Aruba and the Dominican Republic, but require visitors to quarantine or fill out entry forms. In some cases, visitors may be required to test negative for COVID-19 before arrival and departure, and some test costs may be out of pocket. Anyone heading to Aruba, for example, should visit the destination website at aruba.com. Though active cases are currently decreasing, per the CDC, Aruba remains at level 4 (very high). At this time, mandatory insurance is required to protect visitors against incurred medical and non-medical expenses if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay. In addition to government guidelines, the resorts often offer additional information regarding local Government travel requirements and internal protocols to promote guests’ health and safety.
More than ever is the time to stay educated on the fluctuating travel rules related to COVID-19. As destinations begin to open and the sun and sand or mountains and lakes beckon us, we must stay on top of changes to maintain safety levels. By understanding each destination’s travel requirements and observing the regulations to get there and home again safely, we can optimistically reduce our risks.
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