Travel and COVID-19 - July 22, 2020
July 22, 2020 - 5 min. read
In trying to stay current on travelling during COVID-19, there is a LOT of information to sift through. Combine that with the speed at which regulations and recommendations change and deciding whether or not to leave your community becomes an act necessitating both careful planning and spontaneous decision-making. Even as sources talk about relaxing borders and the importance of tourism, the question remains: even though you can travel, should you?
In the age of COVID-19, whether or not to leave your home remains a personal decision. Unlike pre-COVID travel, though, when the major factors to consider before travelling were versions of “Can I afford it?” and “Do I have time off?”, today’s questions involve assessing and mitigating risks, both the ones we know about and the ones we don’t. The factors we’re being asked to consider don’t involve only us, either; rather, the health of our families, coworkers, and the communities we visit and return to play considerable roles in determining how comfortable we are travelling right now.
There’s a ton of writing out there about travelling during the pandemic, but it can be hard to obtain a global perspective. Not to fear: an excellent website created by engineers from MIT, Covid Controls, provides detailed information on the epidemiological situations and current restrictions in each country using an interactive map. Additionally, this article from Fodor’s Travel discusses the can vs. should question with a focus on Europe, specifically. There are definitely others like it online.
Following up last week’s blog, we’ve checked in on some global travel guidelines (below). Remember to check each’s country’s website for the most thorough, up-to-date information.
As of JULY 22, 2020:
Canada: The Canadian government continues to advise all Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada and avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice. They remind travellers that although some borders are open, the governments of those destinations could impose strict and sudden travel restrictions if they experience an increase in cases of COVID-19. If this happens, international transportation options could be reduced significantly, making it difficult to return to Canada. The deadline for restricting travel between Canada and the US has been extended until at least August 21, 2020.
United Kingdom: The gov.uk website continues to advise against non-essential international travel, except to countries and territories deemed exempt (that list is here). Like Canada, they also currently advise against cruise ship travel.
The European Union: The European Council recommended that temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU be lifted gradually for certain countries as of July 16; the list of countries will be updated every two weeks and can be found here. The Re-Open EU app remains the best source for information about travel and the EU.
Australia: Australia is slowly re-opening for internal travel. The Government has outlined a national three-step plan to relax restrictions, although each state and territory will move forward at its own pace. Australia’s borders are closed and 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.
United States: [Remains unchanged] 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 decision of whether or not to travel is, as it’s always been, a deeply personal one. Only you can know what makes sense for you in a completely unprecedented situation. However, given the amount of information available on travelling during COVID-19, there is no reason not to be completely aware of the risks before heading out of your community. Happy reading and stay safe!