U.S. Travel: Do Your Part for Public Health If You Choose to Travel for the Holidays

Published on : Friday, November 20, 2020

On Thursday, the U.S. Travel Association released an update to its guidance for healthy and safe travel ahead of thanksgiving when tens of millions of Americans are expected to travel despite spiking COVID-19 infection numbers. The association also urged everyone to pay heed to the recommended safety practices if traveling.

During a press conference, Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association discussed about the new challenge of “pandemic fatigue”, that is reportedly causing many Americans to lower their guard against coronavirus as they are tired after eight long months of evolving restrictions and lifestyle adjustments. He mentioned in a statement that in order to put an end to the pandemic, it is extremely important to maintain health and safety practices.

He also mentioned that public health is a shared responsibility that requires a phased and layered approach, and said that travellers will have to play a major role in that approach. He advised that the first mandate should be the usage of face masks in public, a rule required to be universal at the moment.

He emphasized that the need to stay conscientious about health and safety applies to all travel environments—not just air travel. He mentioned that the same best practices apply in every phase of travel and said “If you’re in an airport, at a rest stop, or entering a restaurant, or if you’re staying in a hotel, please wear a mask in public spaces, without exception.”

AAA Travel projects recently shared that up to 50 million Americans are expected to take the roads and skies for the November holiday. Therefore, the fatigue phenomenon is partially apparent in the fact that strong numbers of Americans are expected to travel for the thanksgiving holiday despite the persistence of coronavirus.

With the similar scenario in mind, U.S. Travel has updated the “Travel in the New Normal” health and safety guidance developed earlier this year with the aim of keeping travelers focused on their own practices that will contribute to a safe environment for all—and demonstrate the travel industry’s commitment to the same. Accordingly, the new guidance outlines practices that should be embraced by both travelers and travel businesses alike.

Updates to the “Travel in the New Normal” guidance reflect evidence gathered about COVID-19 since the document was first released in May—primarily, that transmission is mostly airborne, and that a greater focus on transmission barriers is therefore essential. Beyond the strong emphasis on mask-wearing, other practical advice for travelers in the updated guidance includes:

The decision of safe travel and the request to refrain from traveling if anyone has been sick or been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. The guidance also asks individuals to go for an annual flu vaccine. It also advises travelers to research about their desired destination and gathering information about health departments for local requirements and up-to-date travel information.

It also urged people to practice physical distancing by staying six feet away from individuals they do not live with, both indoors and outdoors. It also advises about frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

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