Many states and cities are issuing warnings to folks itching to travel to family for the holidays. Let’s talk about holiday travel and if it’s the right decision for you.
The holidays are coming and for many that means gathering to see friends and family. Even if you don’t have to travel far, maybe just a car ride away, this could mean coming in contact with people you haven’t seen in months.
The holidays are a hard time to practice will power in staying away from people you love. Never in my lifetime have I had to say anything like that but this year it’s true.
Does your holiday crew include people who are high risk? Are they elderly? Suffer from chronic illness? Do they suffer from high blood pressure? Heart problems? Cancer survivor or sufferer? Do they have a compromised immune system?
Those are questions you have to ask yourself. Is it worth making a memory if it might be the last because they could be exposed to a virus that you might recover from but they won’t?
There are some awkward but necessary questions that you should be asking the people you are exposing yourself to. Yes, they might be uncomfortable but a little discomfort up front could save a lot of heartache later.
Have you been taking this virus seriously? Wearing a mask, sanitizing and washing frequently, following the guidelines?
Have you traveled and been exposed to a number of strangers in close quarters like in an airplane or at a conference in the past two weeks?
Have you been exposed to anyone who tested positive in the last two weeks?
Are you or anyone you have been around in the last few weeks experiencing any symptoms?
Is it uncomfortable to ask these questions? Why though? There is no shame is being safe or creating a safe environment for others.
We get a number of questions about how we are handling the virus while staying sane and living our lives. We thought it would be helpful to share our story with you to help you make the tough decisions.
My father is a cancer survivor who also suffers from Parkinson’s and is currently on dialysis. He is about as high risk as it gets. Because of that, I have taken to extra precautions when it comes to seeing my parents.
I could of course get coronavirus. I’m well aware of that. I’m not high risk so I could be fine. But, what if I got it and passed it on to my Dad or my Mom? What if I come in contact with someone I don’t even know who can’t fight it off and they get it? That’s my concern.
Because of that. Yes, we have traveled but we also take extra precautions and we ask the awkward questions. When we return from a trip, unless it was to a cabin where we didn’t come in contact with anyone, we quarantine from both of our families for two weeks.
Just because someone is family or a close friend, doesn’t mean they are safe and I would rather offend someone with my questions than not ask the questions and not feel comfortable myself and run the risk of exposing my Dad or someone else. I’m not concerned about offending people who I don’t think are being safe, I’m concerned about being a good human and protecting people from exposure.
I would rather make people uncomfortable with a few questions that are simply to protect my family and those who can’t fight off this virus then not ask the questions and make a grave error in judgement.
It’s worth it. Ask the questions.
If you decide to travel for the holidays be sure that you are up to date on any restrictions that area has regarding out of state of out of town travelers. One such example is Hawaii. Various islands require different things. Kauai is requiring a two-week quarantine for ALL travelers following a spike in positive cases. Other islands require proof of a negative test within 72 hours of your flight.
Alaska requires that all nonresidents over the age of 10 upload proof of a negative molecular-based SARS-CoV-2 test to an online travel portal, where they can also submit a travel declaration and self-isolation plan. Those who were tested within 72 hours before departure and are awaiting their results can enter the state, but must quarantine until proof of a negative finding can be uploaded. The state requests travelers get a second test done five to 14 days after arriving in Alaska.
All nonessential travel is banned statewide in California. Hotels and other forms of lodging are only allowed to accept an out-of-state reservation for nonessential travel if it’s for at least 14 days, the time period that California has been urging visitors and returning residents to self-quarantine.
Connecticut is requiring that people arriving from places other than Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island self-quarantine for 14 days and fill out a mandatory health form if they plan to stay for more than 24 hours. Travelers can avoid or shorten the quarantine period by providing proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
Travel to Washington D.C. for more than 24 hours from a high-risk area must get a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours before their arrival. If they are staying in Washington for more than three days, they must have another test done three to five days after arriving. Residents of Maryland and Virginia are exempt are many workers in the D.C. area live in those states.
The state of Illinois has no state-wide travel restrictions. However, Chicago is under an emergency travel order. This means that Chicago has implemented a color-coded system that helps inform whether you should be traveling to the city and quite frankly the state and whether visitors need to obtain a negative coronavirus test or quarantine. The colors — red, orange and yellow — are based on virus levels in other states and how those levels compare to the situation in Chicago. This list is updated with the most recent information every other Tuesday.
Those traveling from a “red” state are asked to avoid travel, but if they visit Chicago, they must quarantine for 14 days, or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter. There are 19 states listed as “red” including Alaska, Colorado, Wisconsin and more. If you are traveling from one of these states, you are asked not to travel to the Chicago area and that includes the airports. If you do, you should not be participating in any social activities and should quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
People from “orange” states are also asked to stay home, but should they visit, they can either quarantine or obtain a negative virus test result no more than 72 hours before their arrival. As of December 13, there were 29 states in “orange” including, California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and more.
Those are just a few examples of states and cities asking for people, at least certain people not to travel to their areas.
For a full list of all state restrictions check out this article highlighting all 50 states.
We have been called hypocrites for traveling during this time and we get it. We understand. Our decision to travel has not been made lightly and has come with a number of decisions following those trips that mean we stay home and avoid contact so that we could go on vacation.
We are not here to tell you that you should not leave your house, that you should not travel. All we ask is that you take into consideration those you are coming in contact with and those who potentially could come in contact with who are high risk or who are exposed to those who are high risk.
The holidays are a hard time and we know that people want to see family and friends and celebrate and forget 2020 but let’s not put others at risk. If you travel, take precautions, be honest and upon your return, be accountable and avoid contact with those who may not be able to fight off illness and who are high risk.