Published on July 1, 2021

Summer vacations and road trips

Staying safe in a cautious world

Dan McKay, CEO of Ephraim McDowell, smiles for the camera.

With mandates lifting and widespread COVID-19 vaccination approaching reality, many of us are returning to a more normal state of life since the pandemic invaded our lives close to a year and a half ago. However, it is important to remain vigilant as we venture out on summer vacations and road trips over these next few months, and not forget the long fight we have endured to get us to this point. 

Wide-spread vaccination will not happen overnight, and even then, there is a small chance you could still contract and transmit the virus once you’ve been vaccinated. 

If you’re vaccinated, you are considered less likely to contract COVID-19, but it is important to remember that international travel can still possibly bring you into contact with new COVID-19 variants, making it important to not let your guard down, even now as we all return to larger group gatherings and closer physical contact. In fact, a good tip for larger family and friend gatherings would be to have vaccinated people serve the food whenever possible. 

Before you travel this summer, make sure you are aware and selective about your destination choices. Research the safety measures that are being taken before you go, and understand the risks you take if you are unvaccinated. If you have not yet received your full COVID-19 vaccination, remember to still wear a mask and social distance whenever and wherever your travels may take you. 

While traveling, remember that even though you may be a vaccinated adult, you may be traveling with unvaccinated children and it is still very important to keep our youth safe. To do so, remember the measures we’ve taken this last year such as wearing a mask, regular hand washing and distancing ourselves to limit the spread of the virus. 

As recommended by the CDC, in the United States you are still required to wear a face mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation in the cities you may travel to. Don’t forget to also wear your mask properly and make sure that it covers both your mouth and your nose. 

If you are traveling within the U.S. but going out of state and are fully vaccinated, you do not need to get tested before or after your trip, or quarantine after you return. However, international travel will require you to get tested within three days prior to traveling back to the United States for unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals.

If you’re not fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends getting tested for COVID-19 one to three days prior to travel for domestic and international travel to ensure you are healthy enough to go on your trip. Precautions such as wearing a face mask and social distancing will still be required. Upon returning home, the CDC recommends testing three to five days after your trip and quarantining for seven days to monitor symptoms. The CDC also recommends that you avoid being around people who are considered high risk for 14 days after you travel. 

Even if you are fully vaccinated, remembering COVID-19 tips like washing your hands often, covering your cough and sneeze, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, can help stop the spread of germs such as COVID-19. Limiting contact with frequently touched surfaces and maintaining a distance of six feet can also help stop the spread of any variant of the virus. 

All state and local recommendations or requirements should also be followed for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Make sure you research where you are traveling to for  their local list of current requirements. For local Kentucky guidelines, you can visit govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19 for the latest information.

We’ve been waiting for this time for over a year. While the prospect of travel and larger gatherings are greatly appealing to most, it is still important to remember that we are near the end, but we are not there yet. Continuing to follow recommendations and guidelines set forth by the CDC and local government will ensure that we continue to take steps forward and not be forced to take any steps back into quarantine.