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Holiday travel during Omicron Variant

 

Will Omicron Variant Affect Your Holiday Travel Plans?

The most wonderful time of the year is finally here! With the previous lockdowns and minimal social gatherings since the pandemic started, everyone’s been so eager to travel and reunite with friends and families this holiday season. However, with the new Covid variant known as the Omicron, holiday travel just got more complicated.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the Omicron Variant is already in the U.S. The Coronavirus cases has been increasing due to the Delta and Omicron variants. Just when we thought things are starting to go back to normal, new coronavirus variants keep emerging. This only shows that the pandemic is far from over.

 

What Do We Know About the New Covid Omicron Variant?

According to CDC, the newly identified Covid Variant, known as Omicron has been detected last November 11, 2021 in Botswana. It was then reported to the World Health Organization on November 24, 2021. The first known case in the U.S has been detected in California on November 30, 2021.

The Omicron variant is new and still needs a lot of research data. Due to the small number of reported cases, the severity of Omicron remains unclear. It will probably take another two weeks or so for the Government and health officials to provide more details about infection and spread.

One of the biggest questions right now for travelers is – With the new Omicron variant circulating worldwide, should you cancel your holiday travel plans or not? This is difficult to answer. The best thing to do for right now, is to stay updated with the latest news and health guidelines. Check CDC’s website regularly for any travel guidance and advice.

 

Here are important things to consider so you can make the best-informed decision for you and your family’s safety.

 

1. Your Destination

Where are you going? Be sure to check Domestic and International travel protocols. Entry and Exit requirements vary per country so be sure to check before making travel arrangements. Keep in mind too that if you are planning to travel outside of the U.S, you will now need to test negative for Covid within 24 hours before you can re-enter the U.S. This includes U.S Citizens and permanent residents. It would be wise to check the news, stats and any updates about covid cases in the areas you are planning to visit.

 

2. Vaccination Status

Have you and all the members of your travel party been fully vaccinated? Did you remember to get your booster shot before leaving? The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends getting fully vaccinated and booster shots before traveling internationally. Per health officials it is the best way to protect yourself and your family against all the Covid variants, including the Omicron.

 

3. Access to Covid Testing Sites

Do you have access to Covid Testing sites before and after your holiday travel? President Biden has announced: “Effective, December 6, all air travelers entering the United States regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will be to be required to show a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test taken the day before they board their flight to the United States.” This means that if you travel internationally, there is no guarantee that you will be allowed back to the U.S unless you test negative for covid the day before you arrive. With the new Entry and Exit requirements, you need to make sure that you can get tested before and after your travel to avoid any travel delays.

 

4. Wearing a Mask and Social Distancing

Are you comfortable wearing a mask? Will it be possible to observe social distancing? Be sure to wear a mask in public areas especially when you’re indoors. It is important to continue social distancing from other people who are not in your travel party.

 

Deciding to continue with your holiday travel:

If you decide to continue with your travel plans this holiday season, make sure you are vaccinated and have gotten the booster shot. Always wear a mask and social distance. Most importantly, stay updated with any health advisories and follow all safety recommendations at your destination.

Health experts have predicted that Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon. It’s here to stay. Therefore, we must make the necessary adjustments and learn how to live with it. Have a safe holiday season and hope you can find meaningful ways to celebrate with your loved ones safely.

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