Should You Travel To A Reopened State?

by Emma

When Georgia allowed businesses to reopen at the end of April, many visitors from elsewhere flocked to the Peach State to take advantage of the restaurants, saloons, bowling alleys, and more. As other states followed with staged reopenings, the trend continued.

These trips are risky amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, the threat of coronavirus has hardly disappeared. But the urge is undoubtedly understandable.

“People have quarantine fatigue,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a professor of health science at Ball State University in Indiana. “There’s a feeling of inequality ― why do my friends and family or people in other states have the freedom that I don’t? Plus, summertime is vacation time, and people want to go out.”

Should You Travel To A Reopened State?

Still, are such trips advisable? HuffPost spoke to experts about the safety of traveling to a state with more reopened businesses than your home state and what prospective travelers should consider protecting their health and that of their loved ones.

Listen To The Experts

“In general, the best way to avoid getting sick is to stay home and to travel only within your community for essential tasks related to work and household needs. Any travel will increase your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and potentially spreading it to others,” said Stephanie Kreml, physician and advisor to the telemedicine platform Medici. “While many of us are stir crazy and would like to travel during the summer months, the safest thing to do at this time is to stay home.”

The fact that certain states have almost fully reopened does not mean there’s no risk of exposure to the coronavirus there. Some have reported increases in the number of daily reported COVID-19 cases.

“For a reopened state, you are not the only one flocking to it. There are many others,” said Khubchandani. “How will you ensure you are safe? Socially distanced from people? You can control your behaviors, but how about others? You are risking infection by going to cluttered places. I would say, stay where you are as much as you can.”

Your travel experience will likely feel different anyway. “Just because your favorite vacation destination has opened does not mean that you have to go visit right now,” said Brian Labus, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ School of Public Health. “You need to make informed decisions about what is best for you and your health, and your favorite vacation spot will probably look and feel quite a bit different than usual because of the steps they are taking to protect you.”

Research Your Destination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on traveling outside your community during the pandemic, including things to consider when making this decision. One primary consideration is the health conditions at your destination.

“Before deciding to travel to a reopened state, consider whether or not COVID-19 is still spreading in the city where you are going,” advised Tony Yuan, a physician and medical director at Doctor On Demand. Several factors should be considered and weighed when deciding whether to travel to another state now and as summer arrives.

Destinations with a continuous decline in cases are safer than those with recent spikes, so do your research. Consider what the COVID-19 burden has been on the health care systems in your destination and whether you would be able to access good care in the event of a medical incident.

“We know many states are reopening prematurely, so I would encourage potential travelers to check out the local health department websites,” said Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist. “If there’s not been a consistent decrease in cases and hospitalization for several weeks, I would say to postpone the trip.”

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