Travel tips during a pandemic

By Jon Quinn (TheLorian)

As the holiday season approaches, it forces everyone to make a decision; to travel or not to travel. For several students deciding to travel, this would be the first time traveling during a global pandemic. It’s in the best interest of anyone who wants this pandemic to end, to travel safely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

The CDC continues their point and explains that people can still spread the virus, even if they feel well. They also warn that any passengers one travels with may also spread the virus to other people including family members, friends, and the community for 14 days after you were exposed. Lastly, don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

With the end of the semester approaching, the majority of students will have to go home at some point. The CDC strongly recommends that everyone traveling should wear a mask, specifically on public transportations. In some parts of the nation, like New York City and Utah, if you are caught on public transportation without a mask, you’ll face consequences in forms of fines.

Additionally, small gatherings have been linked to the growing number of COVID-19 cases. It can be important to find other considerations for celebrating the holidays with friends and family without contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

“Celebrating virtually or with member of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk,” according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends considering the community levels of COVID-19. High levels in the community can increase the risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19. Additionally, exposure during travel should be limited. If you’re driving, try to make it to your destination without stopping. If you need to stop, be swift and responsible with your behaviors.

Additional topics to consider while traveling are location of the gathering, duration of the gathering, number and crowding of people at the gathering, behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering, and behaviors of attendees during the gathering. Social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing will contribute to decreasing the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC also recommends encouraging guests to bring their own food and drink for their own consumption and for members of their own household; avoid potluck-style gatherings. Wearing a mask while preparing food or serving food to others who don’t live in your household is another helpful tip to reducing the spread.

It is listed on the CDC website that it is likely we won’t have access to the vaccine until January or later. Hence, it is important to take all the necessary precautions now, so that the pandemic can end and we can go back to what life was like before the pandemic.

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Jon is currently a junior who is double-majoring in Media Studies and Public Relations. He is heavily involved at Loras as a campus photographer, residential adviser, and a sports editor for the school newspaper, The Lorian.

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