traveling during a pandemic
Tip/Thought of the Day

Traveling During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Staying home is the best option. But when traveling is absolutely necessary think about these ways to stay safe.

The CDC poses these questions for people to consider if they are planning to travel:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going?
    You can get infected while traveling.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community?
    Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling.
  • Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip?
  • Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
    Individuals who have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should limit their travel.
  • Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
    If you get infected while traveling you can spread COVID-19 to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Does the state or local government where you live or at your destination require you to stay home for 14 days after traveling?
    Some state and local governments may require people who have recently traveled to stay home for 14 days. Check for state and local restrictions.

Consider the following risks for getting or spreading COVID-19, depending on how you travel:

Air travel

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. Social distancing is difficult, if not impossible on flights, and you may have to sit near others (within 6 feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. This visual from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Center of Excellence at Purdue University was made during the SARS outbreak, but gives an idea of how germs can travel within an airplane cabin. What can be done? Wear your mask the entire trip, bring hand sanitizer for when you can’t wash your hands. If possible, bring along cleaning wipes to clean your immediate surroundings on the flight. Wear gloves if possible, just make sure to not touch your face and after you dispose of them, wash your hands thoroughly. Gloves and masks only work when used and worn properly. Avoid touching high traffic surfaces.

Bus or train travel

Traveling on buses and trains for any length of time can involve sitting or standing within 6 feet of others who may be infected. Do your best to sit apart from others and wear a mask. Gloves may be a good option here as well, just be mindful to not touch your face while using them.

Car travel

Making stops along the way for gas or breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and surfaces. But, you can control your surroundings somewhat and choose to make stops at less busy locations.

If you are traveling locally using a ride share service, sit in the back seat and avoid booking “carpool” services where you pick up other passengers along the way. Wear a mask and if possible, crack the window for airflow.

RV travel

You may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but you’ll likely still need to make stops at public places for breaks, gas, etc. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others- but wear a mask and wash hands regularly to lower the risk of illness.

The bottom line: if you don’t have to travel. Don’t. That’s how the virus crosses state lines. If we are all diligent we’ll all stay healthy and safe.

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