Spring break is here for many people across the country. But there’s still some uncertainty about whether travel is allowed.
The state of play
The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1.5 million people at the airports on Sunday, March 21. That’s the busiest day at an airport since March 13, 2020.
To see the true difference, the TSA said it screened about 548,000 people on March 21, 2020, though. Compare that to the 2.2 million who were screened in 2019, according to USA Today.
So right now, travel remains caught in the middle. Less people are traveling than before the pandemic, but more people are traveling since the beginning of the coronavirus’ spread.
Travel has its own set of consequences and results. Look at Miami. The Florida city — known for its exuberant nightlife and party culture — was party central over the last weekend. In fact, there were so many spring breakers in Miami that local officials had to declare a curfew and a state of emergency to stop the potential spread of coronavirus and any damage from the partying.
What do experts recommend?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new page about spring break travel. Simply put, travel increases the chances you’ll either get or spread COVID-19 to others.
“CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19,” the agency suggests on its website.
I followed up with the CDC to see if they had any additional information. Jasmine Reed, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said in an email: “The recommendation is to reconsider travel, as you can have an increased risk of getting the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Reed recommended the CDC’s website for more information.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts, worries that too much travel right now could lead to another surge, especially since so many states are opening up and limiting their mask mandates, according to The New York Times.
“There’s always a risk of another surge and that’s the thing we really want to avoid because we are going in the right direction. That’s why I get so anxious when I hear pulling back completely on public health measures like saying, ‘no more masks, no nothing like that’ I mean, that’s is risky business,” Fauci said.
What if you travel?
You might decide to travel for spring break. So the CDC does have some suggestions for what you should do ahead of time.
For example, you’ll want to see what potential vaccines, medications or advice there is for where you’re going to go. You’ll also want to make sure what local restrictions there are in any given area.
Some states — like Florida and Texas — have started to open up a little bit more amid the pandemic. Mask mandates aren’t around in some states, either. You’ll want to consider those as you visit those locations to see what you are allowed to do and what you might not be allowed to do.
For example, if you were planning to visit Disneyland — since it’s reopening at the end of April — you should know the park is only opening for California residents.
What if you’re vaccinated?
We don’t know, really.
The CDC has released guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals, but they don’t say anything about travel. Right now, the guidelines say people who have received the full COVID-19 vaccine — either two doses of Moderna and Pfizer, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson — can gather with low-risk people indoors.
- “For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19,” the CDC wrote.
So you could, in theory, spend some time with your grandma. So traveling up to Boise, Idaho, might not be totally out of the cards for vaccinated folks.
But questions still remain about other gatherings. Can you travel on an airplane if you’re vaccinated? Can you visit your grandma in Alaska or Iowa?
President Joe Biden — who has been fully vaccinated — has started to travel through parts of the country, visiting Pennsylvania and Georgia, according to Yahoo News.
Of course, you can do these things if you choose. But the CDC hasn’t released any guidelines on the matter.
More recommendations are coming
“They will address travel, they will address workplaces, they will address houses of worship,” Fauci said of the upcoming recommendations. “You’re gonna see that coming out pretty quickly.”
“You’re gonna see that very soon,” he added.