Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf recently indicated that the White House had no plans to stop the flow of domestic travel within the United States in response to the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>COVID-19 health crisis, but that hasn’t stopped regional governments from creating their own injunctions in an effort to insulate their populations from the epidemic.
This weekend, on March 29, President Trump coronavirus-press-conference/index.html” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>announced that nationwide social-distancing guidelines will remain in effect through at least April 30.
Now, facing at least another month of COVID-19’s accelerating spread across the country, an increasing number of states are implementing their own measures to restrict the movement of domestic travelers.
Of course, some affected areas have already issued stay-at-home orders for residents, effectively locking down their communities with the exception of essential services. As every level of government struggles to slow the virus’ rate of transmission, the weight of these restrictions now constitutes nearly unprecedented limitations being placed upon U.S. citizens’ freedom of movement.
Fox News suggested that, while governors cannot legally prevent U.S. residents from crossing state lines, mandatory two-week quarantines should certainly serve to discourage folks from planning a visit.
And, as the Rhode Island National Guard and police recently did on behalf of the state health department, officers might even go door-to-door ensuring that self-isolation orders are being followed.
I have enacted an executive order which institutes a Stay at Home directive. No Marylander should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine or seeking urgent medical attention: https://t.co/U4DOZIvsTW pic.twitter.com/jTioU46jRu
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) March 30, 2020
Rhode Island was among the first states to actively begin monitoring out-of-state arrivals and enforcing self-isolation restrictions.
Initially, a March 26 executive order issued by Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo singled out folks arriving from New York—which, both statewide and in its urban center of New York City, is battling the greatest volume of COVID-19 cases that’s concentrated anywhere in the U.S.
Two days later, the order was expanded to include persons coming from all other areas of the U.S., proclaiming that, “Any person coming to Rhode Island from another state for a non-work-related purpose must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days.” The restriction explicitly exempts public health, public safety or healthcare workers arriving to aid the sick.
CNN compiled a list of states that have placed restrictions on interstate travelers, some of which have also issued stay-at-home orders to residents. Travelers who are planning to visit any of the following should visit the state’s official website to research the parameters of their travel restrictions:
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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.
WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.
Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.
WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.
“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”
Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.
Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.
“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”
“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”
Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.
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