Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Travel health and safety in the time of COVID
The words “summer” and “vacation” go together like ice cream and cone, barefoot and beautiful, hot and humid.
With warm weather here, many of us — Jennifer and me included — are feeling the itch to go somewhere, anywhere. But in a summer of protest and pandemic, can we? Should we?
While some states have relaxed their most rigid rules regarding out-of-state visitors, many are still in place, so check before you go (and then check again, for good measure).
Take Maine, where my husband and I had hoped to travel this summer (#lovelobsters). Current rules now allow out-of-state travelers to visit if they agree to sign a compliance form at their lodging stating they’ve received a negative coronavirus test result within the past 72 hours.
By contrast, Florida is currently requiring travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana to self-isolate/self-quarantine for 14 days.
And then there’s the travel itself. If you’re thinking of a road trip, know that current guidance on public restrooms calls for taking proper precautions like wearing your mask, washing your hands and exiting quickly (since ventilation isn’t great in those confined areas).
You should also wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially if you’re using a shared restroom where the toilet doesn’t have a lid or the flush is automatically triggered on standing up. Avoid touching your face, and keep your mask on in the bathroom, which could prevent some exposure to the coronavirus. — Flushing the Toilet May Fling Coronavirus Aerosols All Over
Staying in a Hotel?
You trust your own personal cleanliness, but how about others? Before you check-in, check online for your hotel’s sanitizing and cleaning procedures. And once on-site, take precautions like wearing your mask in places where you come in close contact with others, as in elevators, lobbies and bars.
Staying at a B&B or rental-type property? Ask about the time between stays since the virus can survive on surfaces for as long as three days on plastic and stainless steel. Cleaning and sanitation procedures may be all over the map for a rental, so pack a hearty supply of wipes and antibacterial sprays and wipe down high-touch surfaces, like faucets, light switches, doorknob and remote controls upon arrivals.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
The good news is that the great outdoors is a lot less risky than indoors. It’s easier to social distance, offers constant circulation and sunlight, which has been found, in some studies, to slow, though not wipe out, the virus. But heed caution no matter where you go as the virus can spread through the air.
The shorter the flight, the shorter the duration of risk. To further minimize risk, use the bathroom in the terminal (which is likely to be larger and more frequently cleaned than the one on the plane). And try to book a window seat, which might be the row’s safest.
Some U.S. airlines have told their crews not to force passengers to wear masks. — Exclusive: U.S. airlines tell crews not to force passengers to wear masks
As with all things, knowledge is power — and safety. Plan ahead, practice basic healthy measures — and importantly, consider whether this is the summer for a staycation.
For a Pause…
Be a sleuth. Since this unpredictable virus is spiking in some states, check out this COVID Data Tracker from the CDC before you go anywhere.
If you’re still feeling a bit jittery about traveling, AARP gives you lots of ways to stay safe.
I’m not sure why, but I get hungry even before my car leaves my driveway. (#pavlovsdog). Here are 27 healthy and easy-to-pack snacks to take with you. Because who wants to drive hangry?
Last week, San Francisco Gate reporter Chris McGinnis took his first COVID-era flight. He shares what happened next.
One More Thing…
No matter your summer plans, wear sunscreen — and not the Bain de Soleil kind for the San Tropez tan. This option from Eucerin is formulated for drier skin.
Until next week, stay well. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
See you next time!
I bought a toothbrush, some toothpaste, a flannel for my face
Pajamas, a hairbrush, new shoes and a case
I said to my reflection, "Let's get out of this place."
— Tempted, Squeeze
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