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COVID19 -WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

NATURE ALWAYS BATS LAST

Since the start of the pandemic, many families decamped to second homes or taken long-term rentals in vacation spots. At Erehwon Retreat we began adapting in mid January 2020 and have continually revised our policy to remain Open, Safe and Ready to Serve.

You can get COVID-19 during your travels.  Travelers may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.

Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.  But since many are getting an urge for a change of scene, I ask

Why Work and Go to School From Home When You Can Do It From—Tampa this winter?

Face Masks

“People looking at the evidence are understanding it differently,” says Baruch Fischhoff, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who specializes in public policy. “It’s legitimately confusing.”

To be clear, the science supports using masks, with recent studies suggesting that they could save lives in different ways: research shows that they cut down the chances of both transmitting and catching the coronavirus, and some studies hint that masks might reduce the severity of infection if people do contract the disease.

But being more definitive about how well they work or when to use them gets complicated. There are many types of mask, worn in a variety of environments. There are questions about people’s willingness to wear them, or wear them properly. Even the question of what kinds of study would provide definitive proof that they work is hard to answer.

According to a study by a team in Hong Kong, the rate at which the virus was transmitted through airborne particles or respiratory droplets was lowered by as much as 75% when masks were used. “The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,” leading microbiologist Dr Yuen Kwok-yung, from Hong Kong University.”

Erehwon Retreat procedures are  derived from federal agency regulations and recommendations and the Mayo Clinic Press Materials.  This does not constitute legal or medical advice, nor for our international or out of state guests, various additional requirements of states and countries.

Stay safe when you travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends following these steps to protect yourself and others when you travel:

  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between you and others as much as possible. Added security is warranted between the Terminal Walkway and loading and unloading overhead luggage bins when the lines are slowed.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick
  • Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, elevator buttons and kiosks. If you must touch these surfaces, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands afterward.
  • Wear a cloth face mask.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often. It’s especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
     

Check local requirements and restrictions

Some state, local and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days. Save yourself unpleasant surprises and delays by checking for restrictions at your destination and anywhere you might stop along the way.

State and local health department websites are your best resource. Keep in mind that restrictions can change rapidly depending on local conditions. Check back for updates as your trip gets closer.

While you’re in research mode, look up visitor information and hours for businesses, restaurants parks and other places you may want to visit during your stay.

Air travel

Because of how air circulates and is HEPA filtered on airplanes, most viruses don’t spread easily on flights. However, crowded flights make social distancing difficult. Plus air travel involves spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people.

The CDC and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have issued guidance to help airlines prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, major airlines in the U.S. require that crews and passengers wear cloth face coverings. To see what specific airports and airlines are doing to protect passengers, check their websites.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has increased cleaning and disinfecting equipment and surfaces at screening checkpoints. If you haven’t flown since the pandemic began, you’ll notice some changes:

  • TSA officers wearing masks and gloves, and practicing social distancing.
  • TSA officers changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shields at document checking podium, bag search and drop off locations.
  • Fewer travelers and, as a result, fewer open screening lanes.

Also be aware that the TSA has made a number of changes to the screening process:

  • Travelers may wear masks during screening. However, TSA employees may ask travelers to adjust masks for identification purposes.
  • Instead of handing boarding passes to TSA officers, travelers should place passes (paper or electronic) directly on the scanner and then hold them up for inspection.
  • Each traveler may have one container of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces (about 350 milliliters) in a carry-on bag. These containers will need to be taken out for screening.
  • Food items should be transported in a plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. Separating food from carry-on bags lessens the likelihood that screeners will need to open bags for inspection.
  • Personal items such as keys, wallets and phones should be placed in carry-on bags instead of bins. This reduces the handling of these items during screening.

Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds directly before and after going through screening.

Car travel

Air travel might not be for you. You may prefer to drive.  This gives you more control over your environment. You’ll still need to be smart about any stops you make, but that just takes some planning.

Here are things to consider before you hit the road:

  • Plan to make as few stops as possible, but stop driving if you become drowsy.
  • Be sure to pack cloth face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in an easily accessible spot so that you can use them during the trip as necessary.
  • Prepare food and water to take on the trip. Consider including nonperishable items to tide you over in case access to restaurants and grocery stores is limited.
  • When you need to get gas, use a disinfectant wipe on handles or buttons before you touch them. After fueling, use hand sanitizer. And when you get to where you’re going, use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you choose to pick up a meal on the road, opt for restaurants that offer drive-thru or curbside service.
 

Other ground transportation

If you travel by bus or train, be aware that sitting or standing within 6 feet (2 meters) of others for a prolonged period can put you at higher risk of getting or spreading the coronavirus. Follow the precautions outlined above for protecting yourself during travel.

Even if you fly, you may need transportation once you arrive at your destination. You can investigate car rental options and their disinfection policies on the internet. If you plan to stay at a hotel, check into shuttle service availability.

Using public transportation, maintain social distancing, wear a mask, and use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after reaching your destination. If you plan to use a ride-hailing service, don’t sit in the front seat near the driver. Consider handling your own bags during pickup and drop-off.

Hotels

The hotel industry recognizes that travelers are concerned about the coronavirus and safety. Check any major chain’s website for information about how it’s protecting guests and staff. Some best practices include:

  • Enhanced cleaning of public areas, elevators, guest rooms, as well as food preparation and laundry areas
  • Social distancing measures in the lobby, at the front desk and in parking areas
  • Masking of staff and guests
  • Contactless payment
  • Focused employee training in the following:
    • Hand-washing procedures
    • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols
    • Use of personal protective equipment
     
  • Protocol in the event that a guest becomes ill, which should include temporarily closing the guest’s room for cleaning and disinfecting

For additional reassurance, call the hotel. Ask to be put in a room that has been vacant for at least 24 hours.

Vacation Home Rentals

Vacation Rentals by owners have upped their game when it comes to cleaning. They’re highlighting their commitment to following public health guidelines, such as using masks and gloves when cleaning, and building in a waiting period between guests from 48-76 hours.

Once you arrive at Erehwon, know that we have disinfected high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, tables, desks, remote controls and faucets. Although we have washed and disinfected plates, glasses, cups and silverware feel free to use the complementary disinfect cloths, soap and know we temperature check at contactless check in. We will open the door and you will find your keys in our UV- C Lightbox.

Make a packing list

When it’s time to pack for your trip, grab any medicines you may need on your trip and these essential safe-travel supplies:

  • Cloth face masks
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces
  • Throwaway Nitrile gloves

Remember safety first

If you feel sick before your planned travel, stay home except to get medical care. And that brings us to:

Travel Insurance

Henry Young, Jr.

For almost 45 years, Henry served in Fundraising and Arts Management positions and ran his own consulting firm. His work secondary schools; healthcare organizations; and service organizations, with a specialization in the performing arts, including ballet and theater companies, chamber orchestras, choirs, and performing arts centers. In 2009 he began to prepare for retirement. Following a career involved with the management of many special events and working with senior civic and corporate leadership, his experience in the managing of multiple relationships made entering the hospitality industry a natural extension of his career.