Advice on Safe Summer Travels

Wellness@Work advice on Safe Summer Travels

This is the time of year when we all look forward to getting away with family and friends. But how do we do it safely during COVID-19? Or should we do it at all?

If we decide that we will travel, we all know to keep on doing the things we have been doing here: physical distancing, face coverings, frequent hand washing and keeping shared surfaces disinfected. Don’t forget the state’s guidance of knowing your three Ws: 1. Wash your hands; 2. Wear your face covering; and 3. Wait 6 feet away. What else should we do?

Remember, COVID-19 numbers are on the rise in North Carolina. A lot of these helpful tips can be used even if you’re traveling locally, simply going out of your home, or otherwise away from your normal routine.

Let’s start with some basic advice and a list of resources to help you plan.

 

Who are you traveling with?

  • Are you, or friends and family, at higher risk of complications from COVID-19? You very well might decide that the safest thing is a “stay-cation”.
  • If you decide to “stay-cation” and invite others to join you, know that this is not without risk.
  • Whether you are meeting family & friends at a vacation spot, or having them come stay with you, consider setting some ground rules. For example: ask everyone to be vigilant about social distancing for 2 weeks before.
  • And, as always, clean commonly touched areas frequently and encourage hand washing.

 

Where are you traveling?

  • Find out what the conditions are – is your destination a “hot spot” with lots of COVID-19 cases or with rising numbers? Might you want to consider another destination?
  • What are the COVID-19-related restrictions in your destination? Some areas require travelers to quarantine for up to 14 days – not a good fit if you’re only going to be there a week. Check ahead so you can be prepared before you get there.

 

How are you planning to get there?

  • All forms of travel come with risks. Air, train and bus travel place you in close quarters with others; car travel can lead to stops along the way that put you in close contact with others. Of course, you will need to wear a face covering anytime you cannot maintain physical distance. Do your research and figure out what is right for you and your friends and family.
  • Take snacks and water with you to decrease the number of times that you need to stop along the way. If you do need to stop, wear your face covering and wash your hands after.

 

Where are you planning to stay?

  • Most hotels and vacation rentals are trying to reassure travelers that they are taking extra steps to disinfect. But you can still ask questions on what measures they are taking.
  • Take a moment to clean commonly touched areas when you check in. Don’t forget the TV remote control! You will want to wear a face covering while you are cleaning and wash your hands after.
  • In hotels, consider asking for a room on the ground floor. This will eliminate the need to travel in an elevator with others. If you do need to travel in an elevator, wear your face covering!
  • In hotels, consider having meals in your room instead of a shared dining space with other guests. Of course, if you do have to dine in a shared space, wear your face covering and wash your hands after leaving the space.
  • Planning a camping trip? Think of ways that you can distance yourself from other groups of campers, both at your tent site and in commonly used areas like bathrooms. Make sure to wear your face covering when going to commonly used areas and wash your hands after.

 

You’re there. What fun things are you planning to do?

  • First and foremost: keep in mind the guidelines for physical distancing, avoiding commonly touched surfaces, wearing your face covering when you can’t physically distance, and frequent hand washing. Know your three Ws: 1. Wash your hands; 2. Wear your face covering; and 3. Wait 6 feet away.
  • Certain activities are going to be higher risk because you won’t be able to physical distance or because of the many surfaces that are touched by many people. With any of these activities, you will need to wear your face covering and wash your hands frequently. These higher risk activities might include:
    • Taking a stroll along a crowded boardwalk
    • Shopping at the outlets
    • Amusement rides, mini golf
    • Indoor dining
  • Some activities might be lower risk because they are outside and can allow for physical distancing. (But remember that it might be hard to make children physically distance!) It is still good to have your face covering on hand if the situation arises and to have hand sanitizer with you. These lower risk activities might include :
    • An outdoor pool that is not crowded
    • Hanging out at an uncrowded beach
    • Hiking & biking can be great on wide trails
    • Kayaking, surfing and boating with family and friends

 

What if I start feeling sick while on vacation?

  • Because travel comes with increased risk for infection, it is especially important to monitor for possible COVID-19 symptoms while you are on vacation
  • If you have any symptoms of concern (fever, cough, shortness of breath), call a health care facility for advice

 

What should I do when I get back home? How about if I had people stay with me, what should I do?

  • You will want to continue to monitor for possible COVID-19 symptoms, especially for two weeks after your return, or after your guests leave.
  • As usual, if you have any symptoms, contact a health care provider and notify your supervisor.

 

Resources:

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