Understanding coronavirus travel restrictions by state is critical this holiday season. The spectrum between states is wide--both in terms of number of cases and restrictions. Some have mask mandates, others have strict quarantine measures, and some (California) are in full-lockdown again. Beyond that, it's critical to know what to expect when you get there: Will restaurants and stores be open? Are masks mandated?
Whether you're considering traveling domestically or abroad for the holidays, here's where to find up-to-date coronavirus travel restrictions by state and country.
The following information dates from December 7, 2020. Please check state and local advisories for up-to-date information.
The United States and much of the Western World is in the grips of a surge in COVID-19 cases. Between November 31 and December 6, over 1,300,000 Americans were diagnosed with coronavirus. In eight states, 92 or more Americans per 100,000 are diagnosed with the virus per day. The current COVID-19 surge is more significant than it was at its height this spring and summer. As a result, states are imposing new coronavirus travel restrictions to curb cold-weather and holiday-related spread of the virus.
Travel Restrictions (Updated 12/8/20)
|Colorado||None, though tourism is discouraged|
|Montana||None (check reservations for specific information)|
|North Dakota||None, however North Dakota has the highest rate of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the country.|
|South Dakota||None, however Native American reservations may have restrictions.|
|Wisconsin||None, though some businesses may be closed.|
Health officials are strongly discouraging Americans from traveling this holiday season because it increases your chances of contracting the virus. Here are a few statistics on the progression of the pandemic to bear in mind, no matter your holiday plans. The following chart was updated on December 8, 2020.
|Total COVID-19 Cases in the U.S||14,637,000*|
Average New Daily Cases (per 100,000)**
*Rounded up to the nearest thousand. **Average of past 7 days.
With that in mind, they're warning Americans to ask themselves and their loved ones the following questions before embarking on a trip.
"The overall weekly hospitalization rate is at its highest point since the beginning of the pandemic, with steep increases in adults aged 65 years and older." - CDC (Center for Disease Control) weekly summary.
Much of the world is classified as a Level 4 Risk, meaning that the risk of COVID-19 is high. As a result, the U.S. and other countries have implemented coronavirus travel restrictions for domestic and international travelers. For instance, U.S. citizens are currently not permitted to enter France, Italy, Germany, and many common holiday destinations.
Had a trip planned and not sure whether you can get a refund? Many people invest in travel insurance because it can cover the cost of a trip up to 75% under normal circumstances. But how does this work during COVID-19?
It depends on the type of travel insurance. However, many types of travel insurance cover sickness and injury-related incidents, as well as quarantines. Some policies have a "fear of traveling," which may apply to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Check with your policy.
Beyond that, many major airlines are offering free flight changes, especially for domestic flights, if your flight falls within a certain timeline. For example, Delta, American Airlines, and United have eliminated flight change fees for domestic trips for a time.
Traveling to Mexico is strongly discouraged, as of December 8, 2020. If you are planning on traveling, check CDC recommendations before your upcoming trip. At the time of writing, anyone who travels to Mexico during the coronavirus must:
Though Mexico does not have strict policies concerning who can enter, the CDC has recently classified Mexico as a Level 4 country. This means that the chances of getting COVID-19 while traveling to Mexico are very high.
To date, over 100,000 people have died in Mexico from the virus.
Mexico has been a popular travel destination throughout the pandemic, however this has contributed to a surge in cases. The CDC strongly discourages all Americans from traveling to Mexico during coronavirus.
Many of the most popular European travel destinations are barring entry to non-citizens (who do not have special permission), including France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands. U.S. citizens may travel to the U.K., however travel is discouraged.
American citizens who are abroad are permitted to return to the U.S. and will have to follow specific procedures upon their return.
Wondering whether you can visit family or take a vacation? The CDC is strongly discouraging all travel due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The vast majority of states are experiencing an increase in cases, amplified by recent holiday travels.
Whether or not travel is safe depends on the nature of the pandemic in your state of origin and destination, the health and ages of people traveling, the health of those with whom you'll come into contact, hospital capacity, and method of travel. Are you traveling during a busy time of year? Are you traveling by car or plane?
The bottom line is: The more people with whom you come into contact and the higher the number of cases in your location, the more likely you contract coronavirus.
No matter where you're headed, make sure to check state-specific coronavirus travel restrictions. Many states will require a negative test result or a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
The safest course of action is to stay home, social distance, and wear a face mask when outside.
DISCLAIMER: The above is not medical advice. It was written for informational purposes only. Please see the CDC website for up-to-date information. Please speak with your doctor if you are concerned about your health and wellbeing.