Is It Safe to Travel Amid US Reopening?

As all 50 states begin to ease coronavirus-related restrictions and stay-at-home orders, Americans who have been cooped up inside for weeks, and in some cases months, are beginning to venture back out into the world. Likely eager to stay away from enclosed spaces and venture further from home, possibly making up for missed vacations, the question still remains: Is it safe to travel? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you may want to rethink any summer travel plans, as "staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick."

If you are considering traveling, the CDC recommends that you consider a number of things, including if the coronavirus is actively spreading where you anticipate traveling. The CDC also encourages people to consider if the virus is spreading in your own community, as "even if you don't have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling." The CDC also advises people to consider if they are traveling with or live with someone who is in the most at-risk groups.

Acknowledging that it is not yet known "if one type of travel is safer than others," the CDC notes that for certain forms of travel, it can be difficult to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Those traveling by air, for example, may find it difficult to remain six feet from others in security lines, airport terminals, crowded flights, which "may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19." The same can be said for bus and train travel, where you may not be able to sit six feet from another person.

While traveling by car or RV may seem to be a safer alternative, they are not entirely free of potential exposure, as stops for "gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and surfaces." For RV travel, "staying at RV parks overnight and getting gas and supplies at other public places" has the potential to "put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others."

Should you decide to travel, there are a number of precautionary measures you can take to ensure the safety of both yourself and those around you. The CDC recommends that you wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after being in a public place, touching surfaces frequented by others, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and before touching your face. Hand sanitizer should be used if you are unable to wash your hands. Cloth face coverings should be worn in public, and rather than sitting down in a restaurant for a meal, you should instead opt to pick up food through drive-thrus, curbside pickup, or at stores. Travelers should also maintain six feet of distance from others when possible and avoid touching their faces. If you or a traveling companion feel sick prior to travel or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, you should refrain from traveling.