Travelers

COVID-19 is spreading within communities across Virginia and across the United States. Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. VDH advises all Virginians to stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential or if you are at higher risk of serious illness. Do not travel if you are sick and do not travel with someone else who is sick. Do your part to stop the spread by taking everyday steps to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Keep at least 6 feet apart between yourself and others. Wear a mask in public places. Wash your hands often, stay home if you are sick, and disinfect high-touch surfaces. These all are very important ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Check out VDH's Prevention Tips to learn more.

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. We don’t know if one type of travel is safer than others. Air travel often requires spending time in security lines and busy airport terminals. Travel by bus, train, and other conveyances used for international, interstate, or intrastate transportation poses similar challenges. People may not be able to distance themselves by the recommended at least 6 feet from individuals seated nearby or those standing in or passing through the aisles on airplanes, trains, or buses. Consider various risks for getting or spreading COVID-19, depending on how you travel.

Consistent with CDC guidance, Virginia currently does not have any quarantine requirements for people arriving in the Commonwealth from other U.S. or international locations, as of October 22, 2020. In Virginia, wearing a mask is required for any person 10 years or older while inside public buildings (per Executive Order 63).

All travelers should check with the state, tribal, or local health department where you are, along your route, and where you will be visiting to get the most up to date information, in case there are travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders or quarantine requirements upon arrival, state border closures, or other requirements. Plan to keep checking for updates as you travel. Regardless of the travel destination, it is essential to maintain at least 6 feet distance from others, wear a mask, and wash hands frequently with soap and water. 

During your travel, you might be exposed to COVID-19. You might not have any symptoms, but you can be contagious and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. If you know that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, postpone further travel. Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take the actions listed below to protect others from getting sick after you return. If you engaged in higher risk activities during your travel, then you should take extra precautions for 14 days after your arrival.

Before Travel

During Travel

After Travel

  • Determine if COVID-19 is spreading at or near your destination. Check here for U.S. states or here for U.S. cities and counties. Look at the cases in the state in the last 7 days. Check here for international locations.
  • Determine if you or someone you live with is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19.
  • Determine if your destination has any requirements or restrictions for travelers. All travelers should check with the state or local health department where you are, along your route, and where you will be visiting to get the most up to date information. Plan to keep checking for updates as you travel. 

 

 

  • Pack plenty of hand sanitizer and keep it within reach in case you don’t always have a chance to wash your hands.  
  • Bring disposable or extra masks (cloth face coverings) in case yours become dirty and you won’t have a chance to do laundry.
  • Bring enough of your medicine to last you for the entire trip. 
  • Prepare food and water for your trip. 
  • Pack non-perishable food in case restaurants and stores are closed.
  • Wear a mask to cover both the mouth and nose when waiting for, traveling on, or departing from public conveyances. Masks should be worn at an airport, bus or ferry terminal, train or subway station, seaport.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature if you feel sick. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day (once in the morning, once at night) and check for fever. Also, watch for cough or trouble breathing. You can download VDH’s Daily Symptom Monitoring Log to help keep track of your symptoms.
  • If you start to feel sick, isolate yourself at home.  If you have symptoms and want to be tested, please contact your healthcare provider. Your provider may collect samples to test you or help you to find sampling sites in your area. Learn more about what to do if you feel sick.

Higher Risk Activities

Some types of travel and activities can put you at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 (see list below).  If you participated in higher risk activities or think that you may have been exposed before or during your trip, take extra precautions (in addition the ones listed above) to protect others for 14 days after arrival or return:

Here are examples of activities and situations that can increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19:

  • Being in an area that is experiencing high levels of COVID-19 spread. You can check the levels for places you traveled, including countries as well as U.S. states, territories, counties, and cities.
  • Going to a large social gathering like a wedding, funeral, or party.
  • Attending a mass gathering like a sporting event, concert, or parade.
  • Being in crowds — for example, in restaurants, bars, airports, bus or train stations, or movie theaters.
  • Traveling on a cruise ship or river boat.

Holiday Travel: Fall and winter celebrations typically include large gatherings of families and friends, crowded parties, and travel that may put people at increased risk for COVID-19.  If you are planning to travel for an upcoming holiday, see information about holiday celebrations and travel.

If you start to feel sick, isolate yourself at home. The most common signs or symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other common symptoms include chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell. Not everyone with COVID-19 will have all symptoms and fever might not be present.  If you have symptoms and want to be tested, please contact your healthcare provider. Your provider may collect samples to test you or help you to find sampling sites in your area. Learn more about what to do if you feel sick.

For more information:

 

Page Last Reviewed: October 22, 2020