By Abrielle Schmitt
Spring has sprung and this means summer is approaching. With most COVID-19 restrictions lifted and a sense of “normal” life returning; Is this the start of a post-pandemic life? Planning for a long-overdue vacation or quick getaway may be on the top of your priority list. Despite conflicting opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing all people across the globe can agree on, we were all affected by these shutdowns, restrictions, and infections. Life was essentially halted and for some, the lives once known for some changed dramatically. So, as we move forward to warmer days ahead, here is what you should know before you jump in that plane, train, or ship and escape to your vacation destination.
Depending on your travel plans, stay informed using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the latest information and restrictions can be found here.
While the United States has seen a significant decrease in COVID-19 infections over the course of the last few months, not all countries are seeing the same decline. Returning home from international travel will require a few steps because of the CDC order that still remains in effect requiring viral testing before traveling to the United States or proof from a licensed healthcare professional providing documentation of recovery/treatment of COVID-19 in the past 90 days. This order is for all travelers, including US citizens, regardless of vaccination status.
While most places locally and throughout the state of West Virginia now allow masks to be optional, according to the CDC website when traveling domestically or internationally, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was requiring a mask while inside of any airport and while on an aircraft. This mandate has been extended since early 2021 but as of April 18, 2022, this mandate officially expired. As of April 19, 2022, the TSA in the United States will no longer require or enforce the use of a mask while traveling in an aircraft. With more news to follow in the coming weeks as we get closer to summer, stay up-to-date with what TSA is requiring/recommending here.
Cruise ship travel has been questionable since the COVID-19 pandemic began and the CDC issued a No Sail Order effective March 14, 2020, and did not lift this order until October of 2020. The CDC would then establish safety guidelines to allow passengers and crews of these ships to set sail again. Though cruise travel would begin, the CDC strongly discouraged this until January 2022. The order in place for all cruise ships expired in January of this year and now the CDC now highly recommends those ships operating in U.S. waters participate but it is no longer required. So, what will cruise travel look like now? As of now, ships like Royal Caribbean continue to require all guests age 12 and older to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before boarding. All vaccinated guests are still required to show a negative COVID-19 test result no more than two days before boarding the ship. One new update for cruise travel is that masks are now optional for fully vaccinated guests and no longer required by the CDC.
With summer ahead and vacations upon us, many of us will be preparing for travel. With the hope that our vacation plans are not disturbed and the ease of restrictions will continue so we may move closer to a post-pandemic life. Have a safe and happy summer!