Is Travel Safe During The Pandemic This Holiday Season?
It depends. It can be safe if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but officials say people who haven’t received the vaccines should delay their trip.
Regardless of vaccination status, all travelers should continue to take precautions, such as avoiding indoors and unmasked crowds, says Dr Keith Armitage, an infectious disease expert at Case Western Reserve University.
âThe delta variant really took us back to an earlier period of the pandemic,â he says.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not to travel if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19 and your period of isolation is not yet over, even if you are completely vaccinated. Unvaccinated people who decide to travel must be tested for COVID-19 one to three days before travel and three to five days after their return.
All travelers should always wear masks on trains, planes and other covered public transport areas, according to the agency.
Airlines say airplane cabins are low risk because they have good air circulation and filtration. However, there is no requirement for vaccination or testing before domestic flights, and passengers can remove their face masks while eating or drinking.
Hotels are not risky for the vaccinated as long as they wear masks around strangers, Armitage says. Family reunions with unvaccinated people are more busy, especially for those who are older or have health problems.
Health experts suggest looking at case levels and masking rules in the location you are visiting before you travel.