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Should I Travel For The Holidays?

Mira Research Team21 Nov 2020

Should I Travel For The Holidays? Holiday Travel Restrictions State by State

 

Should I travel during the Holidays during coronavirus COVID-19?

Public health officials encourage everyone to stay home for this Holiday season during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, traveling for the Holidays this year is correlated with an overlap of a second wave of coronavirus, especially in states that have seen a surge of cases in the past few weeks. It's safest to celebrate the Holidays at home.

Need some ideas for Thanksgiving alternatives? Read more here.

Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic during the Holidays may increase your risk of infection and contracting coronavirus, which is why there are many travel advisories all over the world.

The best way to prevent yourself from getting the virus is to stay home and minimize contact with others. If you go out in public, it's important to wear a face mask. However, it is understandable that people would like to and need to travel before a vaccine is on the market. It is important to analyze your own individual risks before deciding whether it is appropriate for you to travel. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to travel: 

  1. Do you feel sick? If you or any of your family members are feeling ill, stay home, and postpone your trip. Traveling while feeling ill can potentially increase your risk of getting COVID-19 if you are sick with another illness or spread the virus to more people if you have COVID-19.
  2. Are there high rates of COVID-19 at your destination? If you are planning on traveling to an area that is a hotspot, you may want to reschedule your trip or change your destination. Traveling to a hotspot during a local outbreak increases your chance of infection.
  3. Are there restrictions for travelers entering your destination? Many states have now imposed restrictions for travelers, requiring them to quarantine for 14 days upon entry. At the end of this article, we give a breakdown of travel advisories by state.
  4. What are your health conditions and personal risks? Consider any pre-existing medical conditions you may have, your age, your lifestyle, and your habits. Are you at high risk if you contract COVID-19?  Are people around you at higher risk? If so, you may want to postpone your travel plans.

 

Travel Risks During COVID-19

If you decide to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, consider the risks of your means for traveling. Traveling on a plane (or any air travel), bus, train, car, and RV may include certain behaviors that have different levels of risk. Here are some things to consider: 

Plane

  • May be in close contact with others while waiting in lines, going through security, and sitting on the plane - social distancing may not be possible
  • May need to take a taxi or public transit to get to and from the airport
  • The risk of getting COVID-19 through the air on an airplane is very low due to circulation 
     

Bus and train 

  • May be in close proximity to others based on seating location for the duration of your ride - social distancing may not be possible 
     

Car 

  • Although you are not at risk while in the car with members of your household, making stops for gas, food, and bathroom breaks may put you into contact with other people and contaminated surfaces 
     

RV 

  • Staying at RV parks for the night or getting gas could put you into contact with other people and contaminated surfaces

 

States with travel restrictions, quarantine, and testing policies 

About 31 states currently have travel restrictions for visitors and residents. Below is a detailed list of the states that have travel restrictions, who are subject to them, and what they entail. It is important to note that some states exempt travelers from a 14-day quarantine if they submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test. In general, all states do not accept antibody tests. Most accept PCR tests and some accept rapid antigen tests. See the chart below for more details. 

State Name Status
AlabamaNo restrictions effective November 16
AlaskaQuarantine required effective November 16- required to submit a travel declaration form and to be tested within 72 hours before arrival. Travelers who test negative can avoid the 14-day quarantine mandate.
ArizonaNo restrictions effective October 14
ArkansasSome restrictions effective August 27
CaliforniaQuarantine required effective November 17- residents returning to California from out-of-state or other counties are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days
ColoradoSome restrictions effective September 29
ConnecticutQuarantine required effective November 5- Travelers arriving from states with high COVID-19 infection rates must self-quarantine for 14 days. Phase 3 began on Oct. 8, though an order signed on Oct. 13 allowed municipal authorities to revert to Phase 2.
DelawareSome restrictions effective August 27
District of ColumbiaQuarantine required effective September 29- nonessential out-of-state travelers entering DC from specific states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
FloridaNo restrictions effective September 25
GeorgiaNo restrictions effective September 29
HawaiiQuarantine required effective September 29- All travelers arriving at Hawaii's airports, including residents, must complete the required paperwork. A 14-day self-quarantine applies to all travelers and residents arriving in Hawaii. Beginning October 15, travelers with a valid negative COVID-19 test issued within 72 hours of travel will no longer need to quarantine upon arrival. If a negative test is not presented, quarantine is necessary for 14 days.
IdahoSome restrictions effective August 20
IllinoisNo restrictions effective September 29
IndianaNo restrictions effective September 25
IowaNo restrictions effective September 29
KansasQuarantine required effective September 29- Kansas residents who traveled to the following states at the specified dates must self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return home: California, Florida, New York, or Washington on or after March 15, Illinois or New Jersey on or after March 23, Colorado and Louisiana on or after March 27.
KentuckyQuarantine required effective September 29- As of July 20, Kentucky residents who have traveled to Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina or Texas are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving back in Kentucky.
LouisianaNo restrictions effective September 18
MaineQuarantine required effective November 5- A travel mandate quires those visiting Maine to show a negative COVID-19 test or opt to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers from some states, including Vermont and New Hampshire, are exempt.
MarylandQuarantine required effective November 16- Effective November 11, Maryland residents are encouraged not to travel to states with positivity rates exceeding 10%.
MassachusettsQuarantine required effective November 5- Travelers entering the state must self-quarantine for 14 days or show a negative COVID-19 test result. Those from states with low rates of COVID-19 are exempt.
MichiganSome restrictions effective September 29
MinnesotaNo restrictions effective September 29
MississippiSome restrictions effective October 23
MissouriNo restrictions effective September 29
MontanaNo restrictions effective September 29
NebraskaNo restrictions effective September 29
NevadaSome restrictions effective September 29
New HampshireQuarantine required effective November 5- Effective July 2, there is no longer a quarantine requirement for leisure travelers entering New Hampshire from Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, but those traveling from non-New England states for an extended period of time are still asked to self-quarantine for a two-week period.
New JerseyQuarantine required effective November 5- There is a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place for travelers coming to New Jersey from 35 high-risk states, all of which can be found here. The CDC has urged residents of New Jersey to refrain from non-essential domestic travel.
New MexicoQuarantine required effective November 16- As of November 13, New Mexico is under lockdown through November 30 encouraging all residents to stay home except for essential trips. Travelers arriving in New Mexico from the following high-risk states are required to quarantine for 14-days or for the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter.
New YorkQuarantine required effective November 9- The CDC has urged residents of New York to refrain from non-essential domestic travel. There is a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place for travelers coming to New York from several high-risk states, all of which can be found here. Additionally, out-of-state travelers must complete a state Department of Health travel form upon entering New York. Enforcement teams will be stationed at Port Authority and regional airports.
North CarolinaNo restrictions effective September 3
North DakotaQuarantine required effective September 29- Travelers entering North Dakota from international locations or other states with widespread COVID-19 transmission must quarantine immediately for 14 days upon arrival.
OhioQuarantine required effective September 29- Individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms are prohibited from entering Ohio, with a few exceptions.
OklahomaNo restrictions effective September 29
OregonQuarantine required effective November 16- Any Oregon resident returning from out-of-state or other counties should self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. As of November 18, the entire state of Oregon is under a two-week freeze, residents are encouraged to avoid all non-essential travel during this time. Out-of-state travelers arriving in Oregon are advised to self-quarantine for 2 weeks upon arrival.
PennsylvaniaQuarantine required effective November 9- Travelers entering Pennsylvania from designated high-risk areas are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Rhode IslandSome restrictions effective November 5- Anyone arriving in Rhode Island from an area with a high community spread rate must self-quarantine for 14 days or provide results of a negative COVID-19 test.
South CarolinaNo restrictions effective September 3
South DakotaNo restrictions effective September 29
TennesseeNo restrictions effective September 29
TexasSome restrictions effective October 29- As of May 26, the required self-quarantine for out-of-state travelers arriving in Texas was lifted.
UtahSome restrictions effective November 10
VermontQuarantine required effective November 9- All travelers entering Vermont from another state must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, except certain designated states with 400 or fewer cases per 1 million people.
VirginiaNo restrictions effective September 29
WashingtonQuarantine required effective November 16- Effective November 13, Washington residents arriving from out-of-state or another county should self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Residents are encouraged to stay home and avoid non-essential travel. Out-of-state travelers arriving in Washington are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
West VirginiaNo restrictions effective September 22
WisconsinNo restrictions effective September 29
WyomingNo restrictions effective September 3

 

Is it safe to stay at a hotel? Or rent a car?

Whether a hotel is safe depends on several factors. Some things to consider before staying at a hotel are:

  • Is your hotel taking precautions in terms of social distancing and sanitation?
  • Will you take action to ensure you are staying in a clean place?
  • How many people do you intend to stay with?
  • Do you have pre-existing conditions that put you at elevated risk? 
     

There is always some risk when staying at a hotel since you will be coming into contact with staff at the hotel, you will be in common areas such as a lobby or elevator, and your room may not be properly disinfected.

However, if your hotel is taking precautions, such as increased cleaning, mask-wearing, and limiting the number of guests, your risk of contracting coronavirus will be lower. Check out some hotels' initiatives to stop the spread of coronavirus, such as Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, and the American Hotel Lodging Association. 

Additionally, you can take extra steps to lower your risk. For example, it is suggested that you disinfect all surfaces of your room upon entry, such as door handles, counters, and nightstands.

You should also wear a mask in all common areas and avoid being in an elevator with many people. You can also call your hotel and ask to be put in a room that has been vacated for at least one full day. It is noted that it is unlikely that coronavirus will spread between hotel rooms as long as air circulation is good. 

It is generally safer to rent a car than take public transport where you will be exposed to more people. However, since COVD-19 can live on surfaces, it is important to disinfect the rental car before use. You can do this by wiping down the doors, handles, steering wheel, and seats. 

 

International Travel: General guidelines on travel outside of the US 

Many countries have varying restrictions regarding travel and quarantine upon arrival. For more information, check Kayak.

 

Tips to stay healthy if traveling during the coronavirus pandemic 

If you decide to travel via a plane, car, bus, or train, there are several precautions you can take to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19. 

  • If traveling on a plane, bus, train, or other public transportation, make sure to wear a mask for the duration of your trip. Wearing a mask can lower your risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people when possible. While this is not always possible on busses, trains, or planes, try to sit in noncrowded areas if you can.
  • If you touch any surface, such as a bathroom, a railing, chair armrests, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water or sanitize immediately after.
  • Avoid touching your face - specifically your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face, you may unknowingly infect yourself with coronavirus.
  • If traveling in a car, minimize stops and the number of people you come into contact with on those stops.
  • Keep your immune system strong before and during travel. You can do this by catching up on sleep, eating healthy, taking vitamins, exercising, and drinking lots of fluids.

 

Sources

https://www.wsj.com/articles/all-your-coronavirus-travel-questions-answered-11582980999

https://www.kayak.com/travel-restrictions

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/us-state-travel-restrictions-covid-19/index.html

https://ballotpedia.org/Travel_restrictions_issued_by_states_in_response_to_the_coronavirus_(COVID-19)_pandemic,_2020

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Ftravelers%2Ftravel-in-the-us.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2020/07/23/covid-19-hotel-precautions-safe-stay-hotel-right-now/5485744002/

https://www.afar.com/magazine/where-can-americans-travel-right-now
 

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