There's some big news on the horizon for those who are fully vaccinated in the U.S.: domestic travel has now been deemed safe by the CDC. Before everyone goes running to book that hotel or flight, though, there are definitely some guidelines - still - to be aware of. At this point in the game, it's more about protecting our neighbors and those who are still waiting to be vaccinated. Being vaccinated is the best thing we can do for ourselves first and others, but following the guidelines still in place by the CDC is the most compassionate, humble service we can do for others in the meantime.
Studies have shown the profound effect of the vaccines at this point which also shows a decrease in the rate of transmission to others. While studies in the real world are still ongoing, the CDC does recommend exercising a bit of patience and, above all else, common sense, when it comes to domestic travel in the U.S. A vaccine might feel like. a world-class ticket to anywhere at this point but we've still got a bit of a way to go, and you can help shorten that time by following these super simple guidelines.
Before You Go, Be Sure You're In The Know
While the numbers regarding vaccines being administered and the number of COVID-19 cases in currently in a positive trend, that does not mean that anywhere is considered fully 'safe' right now. There are areas of the country that are lower-risk than others and some that carry high risks, such as those where cases are currently on an upward trend. Not every state is able to administer vaccines at the rapid pace of others which, ultimately, will affect numbers as public places start opening up again.
It's important to research before choosing a place to go and if numbers are too high for comfort, it's best to reschedule or simply postpone the trip. If travel is necessary to a high-rate area, consider avoiding public spaces or staying with trusted family and friends, with everyone getting tests if possible. Basically, the numbers should be the indication of whether or not a place should be on a person's personal travel list - too high, don't go. Low enough, proceed with caution.
Avoiding High-Risk Activities Is Still Highly Recommended
Even if a traveler is vaccinated, it's still recommended that travelers avoid high-risk activities such as dining indoors, attending events, and going to large social gatherings. Especially if a traveler is visiting from another state, you can be sure that the locals are not going to appreciate travelers going out of their way to engage in activities that could be reckless and contribute to the spread of the virus, which means higher case numbers.
The last thing a state wants is an outbreak followed by community spread, so travelers should be wary of the activities they choose to do in other states - as it could lead to an unintentional trail back to them while putting others at risk.
Wearing A Mask And Social Distancing Is Still 100% Necessary
Regardless of a vaccine, the CDC is recommending masks and social distancing for everyone. It doesn't matter if a traveler has been vaccinated or if they've quarantined - these measures are in place to keep the general population safe and while vaccinated travelers have an increased level of protection, the notion of protecting others should be the first thing on their minds.
With three variants currently trending across the country, the virus is now more transmissible and, in some cases, can lead to even more severe cases. The only true way to prevent this, besides being vaccinated, is to wear a mask, wash your hands, and be sure to distance yourself from others.
Quarantine Might Not Be Necessary By A State's Standards, But Consider Your Personal Situation
Many states have done away with the quarantine rule for vaccinated travelers or those who have recovered from COVID-19. While this is based on science and factual evidence regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines, once again, protecting others is the main concern here. Vaccines have been shown to lessen the chance of transmission, according to George Washington University physician and public health professor Dr. Leana Wen.
That doesn't mean there are no health risks associated with travel, however, and there is still a chance that those who live with immune-compromised or unvaccinated individuals can't be exposed to the virus. If this is the case, it's recommended that travelers quarantine for at least three days and up to five, and then get tested just as an extra precautionary step.