On the day that the Centres of Disease Control issued a recommendation against travel during the upcoming U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday, U.S. Travel reinforced the CDC’s message issuing updated guidance on healthy and safe travel for those Americans who do decide to travel during the annual holiday.
“Amid this critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Holiday,” the CDC’s COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Henry Walke said during a Nov. 19 briefing.
However, Walke said during that briefing that “for Americans who decide to travel, the CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living during this pandemic.”
U.S. Travel’s president & CEO, Roger Dow observed that a recent AAA survey indicates that 50 million Americans will be travelling – by both car and air – during the Thanksgiving holiday period and the industry organization is urging everyone “to closely heed recommended best practices” if they are travelling.
In a briefing yesterday, Dow talked about the challenge of “pandemic fatigue,” a phenomenon that is reportedly causing many Americans to lower their guard against the coronavirus because they are tired after eight long months of evolving restrictions and lifestyle adjustments.
He observed that there’s a lot of pent-up demand for travel. Americans are tired of being at home. They don’t want to give up their trips. They want to visit their family and friends.
But Dow warned that: “It is extremely important to not become complacent about our health and safety practices.” Dow said. “If we do, the longer this pandemic will go on.”
With that in mind, U.S. Travel has updated the “Travel in the New Normal” health and safety guidance developed earlier this year in a collaboration between health and medical authorities and a broad array of business voices. The goal: keep travellers focused on their own practices that 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 travellers and travel businesses alike.
“Public health is a shared responsibility that requires a phased and layered approach, and if you’re choosing to travel, you have a major role to play,” said Dow. “First and foremost: wear a mask in public spaces. That needs to be universal at this point.”
Dow emphasized that the need to stay conscientious about health and safety applies to all travel environments—not just air travel. This is especially true because 95% of Thanksgiving trips are expected to be by car this year, according to AAA—an increase from 90% last year.
“The same best practices apply in every phase of travel,” said Dow. “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.”
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 travellers in the updated guidance includes:
- Decide if you can travel safely. Do not travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- Get an annual flu vaccine.
- Before travel, check information about your destination. Check health departments for local requirements and up-to-date travel information about your destination.
- Practice physical distancing. Stay six feet from those who do not live with you, both indoors and outdoors.
- Wash your hands frequently. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
For U.S. Travel’s updated travel health and safety guidance, click here.