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November 24th, 2020

holiday travelWhile many may have changed their plans for the holidays due to the coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 50 million Americans are still planning to travel home for the holidays. With the massive movement of people, the CDC is recommending certain travel precautions. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

The holidays are approaching, which means many people are planning to travel to see family, though many are recommending people stay home for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For those who are planning to travel, however, there are steps people can take to not get sick and stay safe, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

“Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You can get COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus,” the CDC noted. “Before you travel, consider the following: The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return. Do you live with someone who might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19? Also, if you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms. Ask yourself are you at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19? Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Also, check if your destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers. Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days. Check state, territorial, tribal and local public health web sites for information before you travel. If you are traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.”

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During your trip, the CDC noted there are steps that can be taken to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

“Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations,” the CDC noted. “Also, avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about two arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol). Avoid contact with anyone who is sick, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.”

There are also considerations to keep in mind for different types of travel, the CDC noted.

“Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes,” the CDC noted. “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. Also consider how you get to and from the airport, as public transportation and ridesharing can increase your chances of being exposed to the virus. 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. With 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. With 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.”

There are also precautions people can take in common travel situations, the CDC noted. 

“In public, wear a mask in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations, and stay at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household,” the CDC noted. “At bathrooms and rest stops, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom and after you have been in a public place. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. If you have to stop and get gas, use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons at the gas pumps before you touch them (if available) and then after fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. When you get to your destination, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The more of these prevention measures that you put in place, the safer your traveling will be.”

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