After a long year of closures, cancellations, and quarantines, many people are looking for ways to get out and explore again. Increasing confidence in the fact that it is safe to travel is causing more and more people to take to the skies or the roads in search of new adventures. If you are considering summer travel plans, safety is likely a top priority. Here are a few tips on how you can enjoy a summer ‘safecation’ before the world returns to summer as usual.
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What travel restrictions are still in place this summer?
Travel restrictions are currently handled on the state level. Some states are asking travelers to quarantine for 14 days after visiting states with higher numbers, but these restrictions are becoming fewer and fewer as vaccination numbers rise. Checking the state and local rules at your destination, or even for planned stops along the way, is recommended.
The CDC recommends that people who are fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask while traveling on planes, buses, trains, and public transit, and in the hubs and airports that control those methods of travel. For unvaccinated individuals, the CDC recommends taking a viral COVID-19 test one to three days before the trip, wearing a mask, and staying away from people who are not traveling with you. The CDC also recommends testing after the trip and self-quarantining for seven days after travel. However, these are recommendations, not rules.
Travel for those who are sick or who have positive COVID-19 tests is still restricted.
How to protect against and prepare for cancellations?
COVID-19 is still circulating, and you can’t travel or visit attractions if you are sick, so there is still a risk of cancellations. If you are going to travel this summer, it’s a good idea to have some alternative plans to protect yourself.
You may want to consider paying extra for fully refundable tickets and accommodations. Also consider checking the policies for hotels, vacation rentals, airlines, and venues to see what happens if there is a last minute cancellation. If you are attending a show or visiting a theme park, have an alternative attraction to visit if the venue has a cancellation due to new COVID-19 restrictions.
What to do if you feel sick while out of town?
If you start to develop symptoms while out of town, contact your hotel to see if they can recommend a doctor, direct you to the nearest hospital, or tell you where to find a testing center for a rapid test.
If your test comes back positive, you must protect other travelers and avoid flying. You will have to follow local guidelines for quarantine. If you are out of the country, you will need to show documentation of recovery, or a negative COVID-19 test, to fly home. In this situation, you may try contacting the U.S. Embassy to learn about your options.
If you are in the U.S., you may not be allowed to fly until you can present a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery. If you are not allowed to fly, you might consider extending your stay until you are well enough to travel and see if you can change your flight accordingly.
What can travelers do to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19?
To reduce the risk associated with COVID-19 exposure while traveling, start by considering the vaccination. While this does not prevent you from being exposed, it can prevent you from having serious complications as a result of contracting the virus, and it can also prevent you from spreading the virus.
To reduce exposure risks, you can follow CDC recommended precautions, which include:
- Wearing a mask over your mouth and nose whenever in public
- Frequently washing or sanitizing your hands
- Staying six feet apart from others
- Limiting groups and interactions
- Choosing to see attractions that are not confined or attracting large groups of people
- Bringing your own food rather than dining out
- Cleaning rental cars and high-touch areas of your hotel room with a sanitizing wipe
Remember, there is always a risk of contracting COVID-19 if you interact with other people, but you can take measures to reduce that risk if you practice good hygiene.
Is it legal to ask a business about their employees’ COVID-19 vaccine status?
There is no law that restricts people from asking about COVID-19 vaccination status. HIPAA regulations apply to healthcare organizations, not general businesses. However, you cannot legally demand the business tell you. You can ask, but they can choose not to disclose the information. In that case, you must decide whether or not you will patronize that business.
You can still travel safely during the pandemic, and increasing vaccination rates and the opening of many states means now is an excellent time to hit the road. With a little extra preparation, you can have a safe summer ‘safecation’ in 2021. If you have COVID-related or other legal questions about travel, don’t hesitate to ask a lawyer. If you’re already on vacation, you can use the Rocket Lawyer App to get answers to your legal questions right from your mobile device.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.