Though the COVID-19 has forced most Americans to remain home and shelter in place, the need to travel is sometimes unavoidable. It’s important to understand the travel guidelines and restrictions currently in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As the CDC explains, “CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of COVID-19 disease have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease.”
There are several factors you should consider as you determine whether it’s safe to travel. From airline cancellations to hotel policy shifts, here’s what you need to know.
Cruise travel is currently prohibited in the United States. On Thursday, April 9, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the extension of its original No Sail Order for all cruise ships.
The original No Sail Order was enforced on March 14, 2020 to require all cruise ships to suspend their operations until one of the three following events occurs:
- The Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency
- The CDC Director modifies the order based on specific public health considerations
- 100 days from the date of publication of the Order
Some cruise lines hope to resume travel in early summer, while other ports will remain closed until the autumn.
The U.S Department of State issued a Level 4 Global health Advisory on March 31, 2020. This advisory directs all U.S citizens to avoid international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. This is paired with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC that recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel .
Air travel within the United States is still permitted, but flight availability may be limited. State and local governments may also have their own orders and guidelines, so check the public health department within your destination before traveling.
It’s also essential to weigh these considerations in order to protect the health of yourself and others:
- Are the cases of COVID-19 rising in your destination?
- Will you or your travel companions increase your risk of exposure through close contact with others during your trip?
- Are you or your travel companions more likely to get severe illness if infected with COVID-19?
- Can you take time off from work if you are told to quarantine for 14 days?
- Do you live with someone who is vulnerable to COVID-19 due to age or a serious, chronic medical condition?
The CDC advises, “Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel.”
The status of hotels varies based upon location. Some have closed due to drop in occupancy, while others have closed in response to local government orders. Others, like Red Roof Inn, are responding by offering inexpensive day rates for remote workers who need a safe, isolated space to work from home.
The bottom line? The government urges everyone to stay home, but when that’s not possible, do your due diligence to secure safe travel plans before leaving home.