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July 2, 2020

With summer upon us, many South Carolinians may be thinking about traveling for vacation. The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, so it is important to make sure you are following guidelines from your community and government entities. 

One of the best things you can do — whether traveling or getting out in your local community — is to wear a cloth face covering. Wearing a mask protects you and others from spreading the coronavirus. For more about masks, find resources at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* (CDC) here

In South Carolina, follow guidelines from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control* (DHEC) and any laws for cities you may travel to. For example, Greenville and Columbia have recently passed ordinances requiring people to wear masks when in certain public spaces.

Do not travel if you are sick or have been around someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. 

Before traveling, consider these guidelines from the CDC about your risk and the risk for those around you: 

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you are going?
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you are currently? 
  • Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip?
  • Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
  • Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
  • If you get sick with COVID-19, will you have to miss work or school?

The CDC currently recommends that all cruise travel be postponed because the risk of transmission of the virus is high.  

Before traveling, be sure to check updated laws for where you will be visiting. Several states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have imposed travel restrictions in light of the rising number of cases in South Carolina.

Traveling locally may be easier because you will be close to home should you get sick. But if you are traveling farther, prepare as well as you can. Carry anything you might need, such as hand sanitizer. Think about where you will get your meals when traveling. Pack food if you need to. 
 

Traveling by Air

If you are traveling this summer, Kim Jamieson, director of marketing and air service development with the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), offers some insight into traveling by plane. 

Jamieson says air travel is certainly safe right now and many airlines have enacted safety protocols. 

“We are also listening and adhering to all suggested protocols. CAE has always been recognized for its cleanliness. In light of COVID-19, we have ramped up sanitization procedures to include (but not limited to) increased restroom cleanings, focused sanitation on ‘high-touch’ locations, plexiglass shields at ticket desks and TSA-required sanitization of credit card machines after every use and more,” she says. 

When traveling by air, passengers may notice that airline and other workers will be wearing masks. Of course, passengers should wear masks as well. 

Most airlines are also operating at reduced capacity. Flights may have fewer passengers and may have middle seats or other parts of the plane blocked off, Jamieson says. 

If you are planning on flying this summer, be patient. 

“First and foremost, use your best judgment,” she says. “If flying is a part of your summer travel plans, we encourage passengers to prepare and pack your patience. In preparation, ensure that you have a face covering, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes readily accessible throughout your trip. Know that TSA security checkpoints will be practicing social distancing, so the lines might be longer than usual.”  

If you are looking for flights, keep an eye on airlines and know that routes and timing are changing. Be sure to check cancellation policies and know what will be required should you need to alter your trip. To keep updated on what is going on, be sure to follow your local airport, such as CAE, on social media or by checking the airport’s website often. 

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Traveling Outside the U.S. 

Be sure you are checking local guidelines and rules for wherever you are traveling. These change from city to city. 

If you travel internationally, you should quarantine at home for 14 days when you return. This ensures that you don’t spread COVID-19, which you may have picked up in your travels to your home community. 

You can find updated information on each country from the CDC here

No matter where you are going in the world this summer, take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 here in South Carolina. 

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are independent organizations that provide health information you may find helpful.

This article contains links to third party sites. Those organizations are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies of their sites.

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