As retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses are beginning to reopen across the country in this latest phase of the coronavirus pandemic, some are asking is it safe to travel again. The answer to that depends on where you’re traveling, your mode of transportation, and the precautions you take as you travel.
There are still parts of the country where the disease is still spreading. Other parts have not been hit as hard. Probably the safest thing is to stay at home if possible and if you must travel, be sure to take whatever precautions you can to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you urgently need to go somewhere, perhaps to see a loved one who’s dying, then by all means go. If you can drive, that’s probably safer than flying, because it will expose you to fewer other people. But, even driving will present opportunities for exposure: stopping for food, restrooms, and refilling gas.
If you do chose to fly, expect to wear a mask as many airlines have started requiring passengers to cover their face. Expect also to encounter others who view you as a viral threat and insist on social distancing in challenging situations like security and ticket counter lines, not to mention those pesky narrow seats aboard the airplane.
Coronavirus has dramatically impacted the travel industry and airlines have cancelled much of their schedules. One scheme being promoted to rescue the travel industry is the issuance of immunity passports as a condition of your being allowed to travel.
An MSN report described their plans to revive the air travel:
“Travel and tourism has been down across the board due to the COVID pandemic,” stated Diane Sabatino, deputy executive director of field operations for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)… “and we are glad to help the aviation industry and our federal partners [start up] a pilot like CommonPass.”United Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways began testing the technology with volunteer passengers on select flights between London and New York and between Hong Kong and Singapore. Additional airlines and routes in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East are expected to participate in “quick succession,” according to the Commons Project.
This COVID-19 passport, now being called “Common Pass,” appears to be part of a bigger plan that could easily come about soon.
If you don’t have to travel right now, you probably should stay put. This isn’t the summer for that long-awaited family vacation. Many of the popular tourist attractions remain closed, and those that are open probably operate on a limited basis. Besides the risk that you’d catch the virus or that you might spread it, you wouldn’t want to have to go to the hospital (for whatever reason) or be forced to quarantine at your arrival.
If you feel you need to get away for a while, perhaps a simpler kind of road trip would be in order. Save those more exotic international trips or cruises for when this coronavirus pandemic simmers down. Consider perhaps getting in your car and driving someplace beautiful nearby where there’s not a lot of people around. While most American national parks are mostly or partly closed, the National Park Service is beginning to open some areas gradually, with special precautions and restrictions to protect visitors, staff and local residents.