Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and many people use it as a last hurrah. Celebrations range from a camping trip in the forest, a large barbecue, a beach rental with friends, or a trip to a neighboring city or state. As Americans attempt to squeeze in one last weekend of summer shenanigans, it’s best to do so safely with the nationwide spread of the coronavirus delta variant.
Labor Day is a notorious holiday for travel, and plenty of Americans are ready to hit the road or airport to reach their destinations. According to Arrivalist, a travel data company, roughly 42.9 million Americans will head out on road trips for Labor Day 2021. That’s actually a 10% decrease since 2019 Labor Day Weekend travel, and a 1% decrease since 2020 Labor Day travel. Perhaps this is due to the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
It’s wise to reconsider what you have planned for your travels. Some things may or may not be open, or your anxiety about the developing situation may induce fear. If you plan to travel or already have existing travel plans for Labor Day Weekend, keep the following safety tips in mind.
Bring Masks…Lots Of Them
The rise of the delta variant is an evolving situation, meaning that cities and states may change safety guidelines as they see fit. For example, Hawaii may enforce a 72-hour stay-at-home order for the upcoming Labor Day Weekend because it has seen the highest case rates since the beginning of the pandemic. With updated recommendations and regulations, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Bring lots of masks wherever you go, especially if you have to fly to your destination. TSA requires that people wear masks until at least January 2022. If masks get dirty or wet, they offer less protection. Opt for triple-layer protection with adjustable ear loops so that the mask fits snugly on your face.
Focus On Outdoor Activities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that outdoor gatherings are much safer than indoor gatherings. This is especially true if the gathering consists of both unvaccinated and vaccinated people. Use Labor Day as an excuse to soak up the last bit of summer weather. If possible, try to keep the size of the gathering to a minimum, and exercise caution if there are children present. Be extra safe if anyone you know is immunocompromised.
Check Guidelines Before Traveling
Before you depart or venture across state/country lines, it’s best to check what your destination’s guidelines and regulations are. Some states or countries may implement quarantine requirements for incoming travelers. Alternatively, you may have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48-72 hours of departure. This is mainly for international travel, though. Traveling within the U.S. may be easier, but still exercise caution and do your research before you leave.
Have Your Vaccine Card Handy
This only applies to people who received one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Places like New Orleans or New York City recently started requiring proof of vaccination for indoor venues like gyms and restaurants. Now, the vaccine card is not the most wallet-friendly document, which can bring up some issues. Fortunately, most places often accept a digital photo of the vaccine card, or the QR code that reveals status of vaccination. Those last two options may be more feasible than carrying around the vaccine card.
Stay Home If You’re Unwell
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of transmission is to stay at home if you feel sick or unwell. You may have a summer cold as opposed to COVID-19, but stay home, rest, and allow the body time to get better. If you don’t have COVID-19, it’s easier to contract it when your immune system is already struggling. With the more contagious delta variant, however, some COVID-19 symptoms can mimic those of the flu or common cold. It may be wise to get a COVID-19 test if you are not feeling well, just to be on the safe side.