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Travel plans? Make sure you play it safe during the pandemic
Put in some research to understand risks
Published Thursday, August 13, 2020 7:46 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Summer vacation is still possible during a pandemic, but take precautions to stay safe.

Summer vacation looks different under the COVID-19 microscope.

Usually this time of year means a trip to the beach before, or even during Labor Day weekend, visiting relatives who live out of town, or any number of typically summer getaways. Traveling during the first summer of the new decade is complicated.

“Any time you get people together in large numbers, if they are not following the appropriate guidelines, they are running the risk of spreading the virus,” said Atrium Health trauma surgeon Dr. Kyle Cunningham.

Getting together as a family this summer is going to be difficult, particularly for families that are particularly large, or who live in different parts of the country. Cunningham recommends maintaining social distancing as appropriate during these gatherings.

“Traveling poses risk,” Cunningham said.

Summer gatherings do allow for people to be outdoors, rather than clustered together in a confined space.

“Clearly the summertime favors get-togethers, because you can be outdoors, but again, it’s going to impose risk if you have large groups of people getting together,” Cunningham said.

Despite the constraints associated with a pandemic, the entire season is not lost.

“There are still things that are safe to enjoy, “Cunningham said. “That’s one of the great things about North Carolina. There are many activities that you can do that are outside that don’t require you to be in a large group.”

However, caution is still necessary.

“Anytime the activity you want to engage in would prevent you from masking or social distancing, maybe you should reconsider and find another great alternative that the local area has to offer,” Cunningham said.

Key for those looking to travel is calling ahead and researching what is available right now.

“Chances are what you have in your mind of what your typical family get-together would look like in the past or certain traditions may not be available to you this year,” Cunningham said. “Calling ahead and seeing what the situation on the ground is where you plan on going is certainly very important.”

As a trauma surgeon, Cunningham does not want people to forget typical summer travel safety, from not drinking and driving to remembering to wear your seatbelt.

“Things that are just typical common sense in the summer, people tend to forget about with everything going on with coronavirus,” he said.

Traveling by plane does not come without risk. Staying 6 feet apart is not always possible in an airport or on a plane.

“Certainly the airports are doing the best they can, but there are certain times you are going to be around large numbers of people in the airport, whether it be waiting in line for public restrooms or waiting at security checkpoints that are unavailable that also pose risk,” Cunningham said.

Remember to physically distance when possible, wear your mask in public and to frequently wash your hands.


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