The coronavirus is still at the forefront of many travelers’ concerns. Aside from making sure they are equipped with protective gear like masks and sanitizer, another issue weighs on their minds. Once they arrive at their destination, what restrictions are in place? Are the attractions they intend to visit going to even be open? COVID-19 restrictions and regulations vary by state. Some states have lifted travel restrictions all together, while others require tourists to test for the virus or self quarantine upon entering. While it is recommended that potential travelers do their research on each state, here is some information for high-rate tourism states:
Just last week, Governor Rick DeSantis declared the state is now in phase 3 of reopening. This means there are no travel restrictions, restaurants and bars are no longer confined to and capacity limitations. Although the state has removed restrictions, counties and cities are still able to enforce certain safety measures. While social distracting and masks are still heavily recommended, the state has lifted any fines or penalties to those who choose not to follow safety guidelines. State parks and theme parks are now able to resume back to regular operations with limited social distancing procedures.
New York is now at phase 4 of reopening; Travel restrictions are still in place for those entering the state. Before unboarding airplanes, passengers must fill out a travel form or face a $2,000 fine. If coming from a state with a 10% or higher Coronavirus rate, travelers must self quarantine for 14 days. While most of the state is allowing restaurants to run at 50% dine-in capacity, New York City is still limited to 25% for indoor dining. While movie theaters remain closed, low-risk outdoor establishments like zoos and sporting venues are open at 33% occupancy. Other indoor attractions like museums are permitted to run at 25% for the time being.
One of the states with stricter policies, Hawaii is requiring a few things from tourists before and upon arriving. When entering the state, visitors must provide a negative COVID-19 test result or self quarantine for 14 days. Hawaii is still in the Act With Care phase of reopening; this means while most businesses are open, they must follow certain restrictions such as occupancy limits. Tourists and citizens are required to adhere to social distancing guidelines and mask mandates as well.
While there are no state-wide travel restrictions currently in place, visitors should be aware of safety protocols and the status of tourist attractions. State parks are currently open for day use with limited camping capacity. Groups of 10 are still not permitted unless all 10 members are from the same family or household. As of September 17th, museums, restaurants, and retailers are now able to operate at 75% capacity. This is good news for those planning to visit. While most attractions like zooss, aquariums, and amusement parks are now open, beaches and bars are not. Before heading to Texas, it is strongly recommended that tourists gauge what their plans and interests are. If bar hopping and rafting are on that list, it would be best to postpone their vacation.
Still considered a high-risk state, Louisiana has continued to enforce many travel and operation restrictions. Since the state has entered phase three of reopening, businesses like theaters, museums, and restaurants can now operate at 75% capacity. While much of Louisiana’s tourism is concentrated in New Orleans, the city is conducting it’s reopening procedures accordingly. While the rest of the state has begun phase 3 reopening, New Orleans is at phase 3.1. This means the city is taking a more gradual approach to reopening bars and tourist attractions. Like the rest of Louisiana, Museums, restaurants, and shopping malls are able to run at 75% capacity. While much of New Orleans tourism is fueled by alcohol sales, bars are still unable to open for on-site consumption. As a compromise, bars are permitted to sell to-go drinks from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
As always, whether one is traveling or not, safety equipment is a must. Even in areas where masks are no longer required, it is better to be safe than sorry. While packing for a vacation, it is advised that travelers include masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants. This is especially important if using public transportation. For those unsure exactly what or how much to pack, there are services that take care of those concerns for you. Brands like LifeBox provide kits created based on certain needs. For example, they offer a travel kit that includes reusable and disposable masks, sanitizer, and disinfectant.
A key takeaway potential travelers should get from these restriction reports is to plan their vacation accordingly. For example, if you are traveling to New York to experience the nightlife and bar scene, it may be time to consider postponing your trip. The same sentiment can be shared with travelers planning to visit states like Florida, that have completely removed restrictions.Some travelers with families may feel weary of visiting the state for safety concerns due to the lack of enforcement protocols. At times like these, health and safety take priority.
Hopefully, with the information provided here along with sources across the internet, those planning a vacation will do so with a little more confidence. Enforced restrictions and protocols ensure tourist and citizen safety. With the proper planning and preparedness, families can now travel and make lasting memories, even during these uncertain times.