Traveling Guide to Navigate COVID-19 | Muse Health

Traveling Guide to Navigate COVID-19 | Muse Health

  Wellness and Self-Care

Health and safety are important considerations while traveling. Ever since the pandemic, however, sanitization and cleanliness—as well as properly following the newly-established CDC guidelines for COVID-19—look a lot different, especially when traveling between states which are reopening from lockdown at different phases. Although restrictions are beginning to ease up across the United States and Canada, there are still plenty of nuanced safety measures to be aware of when navigating COVID-19 as you travel. Here is a quick travel guide which answers some of the most common questions in the post-pandemic world of 2021!

Can I Travel Unvaccinated?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has currently labeled the U.S. and Canada at level 3 of 4 for COVID presence. According to their recommendations, unvaccinated travelers should steer clear of recreational (nonessential) travel until Coronavirus levels have dropped sufficiently. In fact, the CDC advises all unvaccinated travelers to delay any forms of travel until further notice (or until they become vaccinated). But sometimes travel is necessary—in the case of important in-person business meetings or funerals, for instance. This leaves many of us wondering: can unvaccinated people still travel?

In short: yes, unvaccinated people are still allowed to travel! The CDC also has a set of guidelines in place for travelers who have yet to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Here is a summary of their ruleset:

Before you travel, be sure to receive a viral test 1-3 days before your trip to ensure you aren’t asymptomatically carrying the Coronavirus. While traveling, it is imperative you wear a mask or face covering over your mouth and nose across all public transportation and air travel, including planes, trains, and buses. Public transportation hubs like airports, bus stops, and train stations are also included as areas to exercise caution. Proper social distancing of at least six feet from anyone not traveling with you is also advised.

The CDC also stresses the importance of washing your hands frequently when out and about. A thorough washing for at least 20 seconds is often cited as a good hygiene practice. If a sink or hand soap isn’t available, it helps to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer close by on your travels for quick and easy cleaning. According to the CDC, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content is necessary to fight off germs and COVID. Muse Health’s Fragrance-Free Hand Sanitizer contains 62% ethyl alcohol alongside nourishing oils to keep your hands from drying out, making it the perfect traveling companion!

When you return home, plan for a self-quarantine period of one week alongside receiving COVID-19 testing 3-5 later. If you do not opt for the test, you can simply quarantine for 10 days instead.

Can I Travel Vaccinated?

Vaccinated people are permitted to travel according to the CDC, but not without a few factors to consider which help protect both yourself and others as you go. Thankfully, the procedures and U.S. travel restrictions to follow are less strenuous compared to those who are unvaccinated.

For those who have already received their COVID vaccination, a suitable face covering or mask is still required aboard public transportations or indoors at traveling hubs. Once you return home, monitor yourself over the next several days for any Coronavirus symptoms.

It is not required that you receive any COVID-19 tests before or after you travel if you are already vaccinated. Just be vigilant, keep your hands clean, and follow any post-COVID state recommendations for health safety!

Which States Have Lifted the Mask Mandate?

Figuring out the different rules and regulations across other states you plan to visit can be like solving a complicated puzzle. Nevertheless, it is important to know if you should still wear face masks in public wherever you go, especially considering the number of COVID cases will vary from state to state. A road trip needs a plan when public health is a concern!

Generally speaking, people who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks in most public places in the vast majority of states. Those who aren’t vaccinated are still usually expected to don face coverings when going inside public indoor settings. Patrons and employees inside schools, healthcare facilities, prisons, homeless shelters, hospitals, and childcare businesses are still expected to mask up.

Be aware that not all states have fully forgone face coverings for vaccinated individuals. Hawaii, for instance, still requires people over the age of five to wear masks inside almost all public indoor locations. A full list of each state’s COVID mask mandates is also available to check before you pack your bags.

Which Cities and Counties Are COVID Hotspots?

Sometimes the concern isn’t your traveling precautions, but your destination. While some cities in the U.S. have reigned in the spread of COVID-19, others struggle against sudden spikes. These outbreaks create a concentrated presence of the Coronavirus in a small area, resulting in a high likelihood of contracting the virus. A COVID hotspot is a localized increase of reported COVID cases over a short period of time, usually coinciding with regions of low vaccination rates. It might be best to postpone your plans if you’re headed for a COVID hotspot!
Both the east and west coast of the U.S. have seen very low case rates—even large cities like New York and Miami! The central U.S. is a different story: several regions and cities in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana have recently seen big spikes of Coronavirus activity. This is partly due to small local populations receiving the vaccine as well as the spreading of the new Delta variant of COVID. An interactive COVID map can display updated information on which counties and cities have been particularly plagued with large bouts of the virus.

Watch out for these hotspots as you head out! The thrill of entering new borders for holiday travel is not worth contracting one of the greatest diseases to ravage the world in recent history.

No matter where you’re traveling or why, it is always important to go prepared. With so many health variables you can’t control while traveling, the security of frequent hand sanitizing goes a long way to protect your body's well-being. Stock up on a good quality hand sanitizer before you pack your luggage to silence the worries!