With tens of millions of Americans expected to travel for Thanksgiving next week despite spiking COVID-19 infection numbers nationwide, the U.S. Travel Association released an update to its guidance for healthy and safe travel—along with a plea for everyone to closely heed recommended best practices if traveling. This comes in light of the relatively new challenge of “pandemic fatigue”—which is reportedly causing many Americans to lower their guard against the coronavirus because they are tired after eight long months of evolving restrictions and lifestyle adjustments.
The fatigue phenomenon is partially apparent in the fact that strong numbers of Americans are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday despite the persistence of coronavirus. AAA Travel projects that up to 50 million Americans will take to the roads and skies for the November holiday. With that in mind, U.S. Travel has updated the “Travel in the New Normal” health and safety guidance developed earlier this year in a collaboration between health and medical authorities and a broad array of business voices. The goal: keep travelers focused on their own practices that contribute to a safe environment for all—and demonstrate the travel industry’s commitment to the same.
Accordingly, the new guidance outlines practices that should be embraced by both travelers and travel businesses alike. The need to stay conscientious about health and safety applies to all travel environments—not just air travel. This is especially true because 95% of Thanksgiving trips are expected to be by car this year, according to AAA—an increase from 90% last year. Updates to the “Travel in the New Normal” guidance reflect evidence gathered about COVID-19 since the document was first released in May—primarily, that transmission is mostly airborne, and that a greater focus on transmission barriers is therefore essential.
Beyond the strong emphasis on mask-wearing, other practical advice for travelers in the updated guidance includes: