Is it safe to go on a vacation this summer?
Families across the country are grappling with this question as summer nears and coronavirus continues to alter our daily lives, nearly six weeks after states began implementing stay-at-home orders.
The tourism industry has been devastated with major amusement parks such as Disney World closing and cruise lines suspending operations in response to the pandemic. Major cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean Cruises and subsidiary Celebrity Cruises don't expect to resume operations until June 11.
International travel is also less likely to be a viable option. The federal government still has a travel advisory in place that urges Americans not to leave the U.S., and many foreign destinations such as Jamaica are requiring visitors to quarantine upon arrival. It's unclear when the travel advisory will expire.
And footage of mostly empty planes suggests Americans are still leery of flying.
Southwest Airlines, for example, says it filled just 6% of its seats in April and doesn't expect the figure to surpass 10% in May.
"The traffic levels are next to zero at this point,'' Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in an interview on CNBC Tuesday.
Health experts say social distancing will likely be the new normal until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, maintains the earliest a vaccine may be ready is 12 to 18 months.
Consider taking a road trip or going camping, suggests Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician for Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. He says minimal-contact options like those will be the safest options this summer and ideal for people who want to keep their risk factors low.
Many parks have been closed during the pandemic so before you make plans, check your destination's website to make sure it will be open when you want to visit and find out which activities are permitted and which services are open.
Wherever you choose to go, experts say families should still practice frequent hand washing, wear masks and avoid touching their faces on these day trips. In addition, Richards advises packing your own food to avoid contact with vendors.
Check out the full article from USA Today here.