Considerations for traveling during Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving, of course, is a time that most people want to spend with friends and family. Maybe you have a tradition of gathering at someone’s house with your extended family. However, a lot of people travel for Thanksgiving in order to spend the holiday with loved ones. Since COVID-19 is still such a threat, you might be wondering if you want to travel at all, or whether you’d prefer to stay home and have a small dinner just with your household. We’ll go over some considerations for Thanksgiving 2020 during COVID. 

Questions to ask yourself before traveling. 

The CDC stresses that staying home is the safest way to spend the holiday, as it can prevent you from getting sick. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions before you make any travel plans:

  • What is the spread like where you’re planning to travel? If the numbers are high, your chance of getting the virus (and spreading it) goes up. 
  • Is one of your family members/household at higher risk of serious complications or sickness due to COVID? Even if they stay home, you risk infecting them when you return, even if you feel fine and aren’t showing symptoms.
  • Are you at higher risk of serious complications/illness due to COVID? Do you have any risk factors that might put you at greater risk of serious illness from COVID?
  • What restrictions/requirements does your destination and your hometown have in place? You need to do some research to find out what sort of restrictions your destination has in place. They might require masks or they might require quarantine. You can check the state or local public health website to find out what you need to know. 

Know what to do if you are traveling for Thanksgiving 2020. 

If you are planning to take a trip to see loved ones for Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe. Keep the following things in mind: 

  • Wear a mask. Keep your nose and mouth covered up when you are out in public. Bring plenty of masks with you.
  • Social distance. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people who are not in your immediate household. 
  • Wash your hands a lot. Use water and soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Use hand sanitizer. If hand-washing is not possible, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Avoid being around people who are sick.
  • Do not touch your face. Try to stop yourself from touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. 

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Remember, common methods of travel (train, airplane, bus) present dangers because it’s difficult to social distance and there can be a lot of people around. You’re in close contact with a lot of people and you’re stuck near them for prolonged periods of time. Before setting out on a trip, you might want to do some research into the travel companies you will be using. What measures have they taken for safety? Are they requiring masks, encouraging social distancing, offering contactless payment, disinfecting and cleaning properly? 

Do not travel if…

If you are considering a trip for Thanksgiving 2020, you need to seriously consider canceling if any of the following applies to you:

  • If you are sick
  • If you have recently tested positive
  • If you have been in close proximity to someone who has COVID-19

You should seriously consider postponing your trip and following CDC guidelines on how long you need to delay and under what circumstances you need to do so. 

Prepare for your travel necessities. 

You should be prepared when you set out traveling. That means…

  • Wearing a mask (and bringing plenty of masks along) 
  • Having an ample supply of 60% or more alcohol hand sanitizer that you can keep within easy reach
  • Packing medications you need
  • Packing your own food and water just in case there aren’t many options available (and, if you are buying food, using the drive-through, takeout, or pick-up option)
  • Reviewing proper cleaning methods if you are planning to disinfect your accommodations

Be prepared to do the right thing when you return. 

If you’ve traveled for Thanksgiving 2020, you can put your family and others at risk for getting the virus when you return. Even if you don’t have symptoms and you feel fine, you still risk spreading the virus for 14 days after you were exposed. And that means you put your family, community, and friends at risk. All that is to say that you should take the following steps when you get back from your trip…

  • Stay 6 feet away from other people, whether you’re inside or outside. 
  • Wear your mask and make sure it’s properly covering your nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use your hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if hand-washing is not available. Monitor how you are feeling and take your temperature if you start feeling poorly. 
  • If you have been a part of any higher-risk activities (for example, being in a large crowd or at a big gathering) during your travel…
    • Quarantine and stay at home
    • Don’t come into contact with people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID
    • Think about getting a test

If you’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID, delay any more travel. Watch for any symptoms. 

With Thanksgiving 2020 quickly approaching, it’s really important to think long and hard about whether you and your family ought to travel. Yes, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time when the whole family gets together, but don’t feel bad if you decide to stay home and celebrate just in your household. You can always video call your other family members. Safety needs to come first. 

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