Travel and COVID-19 - July 17, 2020
July 17, 2020 - 5 min. read
Thinking about the ways the world has changed over the past few months, the phrase “unprecedented times” hardly seems sufficient. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we work, gather, communicate, and travel. It’s also caused significant damage on a global scale. It’s safe to say we don’t yet realize all of the ways the pandemic has forever changed our lives.
As a travel company in a world that’s not travelling, we’ve had to adapt. We’ve worked from home, fulfilled customer orders with limited people-power, and, back at the office, implemented protocols to reduce the likelihood of contracting and spreading the virus. We continue to remind our Collective to stay safe and follow the guidelines set out by health experts and organizations even as we remain unsure how travel, and by extension Traveller Collective, will look going forward.
As a group of travel lovers who also work in the industry, we’ve stayed up to date on the pandemic’s implications on travel and the ways in which our 140,000+ Collective members from over 120 countries have been, and continue to be, affected. Although local websites remain the best resources for travel restrictions by country (oddly, the WHO’s “Travel Advice” section hasn’t been updated since March), we’ve summarized a few large-scale travel restrictions as of early July. Keep in mind that recommendations change frequently so continue to visit official websites for the most up-to-date information.
As of July 16, 2020:
Canada: The Government of Canada continues to advise all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Until further notice, most foreign nationals cannot travel to Canada, even if they have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization. These restrictions stop most non-essential (discretionary) travel to Canada. International travellers entering Canada must have a plan in place to quarantine for 14 days. Some provinces also have quarantine regulations governing inter-provincial travel; for example, on July 3, Canada’s four Eastern provinces formed an “Atlantic bubble” so travellers can move freely between them without self-isolation requirements. All non-essential travel between the Canada-US border has been restricted until at least July 21, 2020.
United Kingdom: If you’re a resident or visitor travelling to the UK, you must provide your journey/contact details and not leave where you’re staying for 14 days upon arrival except in very limited situations (known as “self-isolating”). There are different self-isolation rules and penalties depending on whether you are travelling to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. As of July 10, travellers arriving from countries on a “travel corridors” list will not need to self-isolate in England (the list of travel corridor countries is here and updated regularly).
The European Union: As of July 1, countries in the EU started lifting travel restrictions at external borders to a number of countries including Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea. For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, certain groups are exempted from the restrictions, including EU citizens and their family members, long-term EU residents and their family members, and travellers with an essential function or need.
Australia: Australia’s borders are closed. Only Australian citizens, residents, and immediate family members can travel to Australia. Travellers arriving from any country may undergo enhanced health screening on arrival in Australia and all arrivals will be quarantined for 14 days. State and territory travel restrictions may also apply, including closures at state borders and additional quarantine requirements
United States: The US requires that anyone returning from international travel stay home for 14 days. The US recommends against travelling outside your local community; furthermore, some state and local governments may require people who have recently traveled, even within the US, to stay home for 14 days. While traveling, it is possible state or local governments may put into place travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or state border closures.
Final thoughts: The Google search “future travel and COVID-19” sums up what we know for certain about travel going forward…and that is that nothing is certain. Travel journalists, experts, and bloggers alike are speculating on everything from the cost of flights to changes in airport security; from a potential boom in domestic travel to the likelihood of the public’s (un)willingness to fly.
As for the team at Traveller Collective, well, we feel certain that travel will be back. What it looks like, how it’s adapted, and even the way we define “travel” remain to be seen…but we’re confident that the impulse to see other places, people, and sites will never go away. As author Pico Iyer explains, “Cultural curiosity cannot be expunged” (“The Future of Travel after the Coronvirus Pandemic”).
So, for now, let’s look back on the memories we’ve already made (and update our Travel Ring collections!) as we plot out new adventures and continue to follow health guidelines. Stay safe, everyone.