U.S. Travel Association issued an update on Thursday to its Health and Safety Guidance it developed earlier, reflecting the latest intelligence and is timed ahead of the expected uptick in travel for the holidays.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory the same day, urging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving as states across the country report spikes in COVID-19 cases.
While holiday travel will be down this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 50 million Americans are still expected to travel this Thanksgiving, according to AAA Travel.
“I’d rather have a little less travel now in order to come back more quickly,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said during an online press conference announcing the news. “But if they are, they should follow this new guidance.”
The guidance focuses on the importance of a layered approach to health and safety, and emphasizes that health is a shared responsibility, with the public needing to do its part by embracing sound practices such as the wearing of masks.
“Our message is everyone please heed the steps that are prescribed by the medical community,” Dow said.
“The data is clear there is a lot of pent up demand for travel. Americans are telling us they’re tired of being home... Pandemic or COVID fatigue might be the reason we are seeing some spikes. It’s important we don’t get complacent otherwise were going to see this pandemic around longer than we want.”
The updated recommendations underscore that health and safety is a shared responsibility. “Everyone has to be committed,” Dow said. This includes wearing a mask whenever someone is in public.
“The travel industry is all in on this, but it’s not embraced by everyone as it should be,” Dow commented.
CDC advised people should reconsider their travel plans, underscores the need to be highly vigilant if you’re going to travel. “If you travel you must do it safely, it’s a shared responsibility. “
Michael D. Parkinson, MD, MPH, FACPM, past president of American College of Preventive Medicine and principal of P3 Health (Prevention, Performance, Productivity), too, said the clearest lesson over the past six months is that it’s a team effort and shared responsibility.
“Travelers must do their part by adopting safe practices,” emphasizing the importance of wearing masks whenever possible. “It prevents transmission and all travel employees. It’s a highly effective tool in the spread of infection.”
Another aspect that will likely be taken under by travel suppliers such as hotels and cruise ships effective air circulation and filtration systems.
The guidance also calls for use of contact tracing apps, facilitate and inform users if they were in the presence of someone COVID positive. “Again, it dampens that curve,” Dr. Parkinson said.
Finally, there is the addition of six practical health and safety tips. First, ask yourself if you should you travel. For those who continue to do so, get a flu shot, wear a mask, practice physical distancing, stay outdoors when possible, increase air circulation, and frequent hand washing.
“If people don’t have confidence that it’s safe to travel there will be no travel,” Dow said.