PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The lifting of travel restrictions in Pennsylvania has the travel industry buzzing and the medical community wary.
Governor Wolf is lifting the travel requirement that mandated a quarantine period once arriving in, or returning to, Pennsylvania in lieu of a negative test for COVID-19.READ MORE: Rock Climbers Gather On Mt. Washington For 28th Annual Emerald View Park Cleanup
CBS News Medical Expert Dr. David Agus from the Keck School of Medicine at USC is a bit concerned, “The numbers of cases being diagnosed went down but this past week they started to pick up again and that worries me. You know, the new variants are much more infectious. And when we see an uptick in cases with is much more infectious variant, I get very worried, yes we are vaccinating, and we do see light at the end of the tunnel, but we really have to be cautious, to prevent this new variant from spreading and I hope it’s not too soon to lift some of these requirements, because, you know, the virus numbers are starting to tick upwards.”
AAA Travel’s Marita Williams says lifting the order dispels a real impediment to travel, “It’s going to change a lot of car adventures for one thing. Maybe you’re going to West Virginia to, you know, the parks down there. Or maybe you’re going to Maryland, and you’re not going to now have to worry about coming back and spending 10 days to two weeks out of sync.”
Williams says the pandemic has already changed the way people are vacationing.
Normally Pittsburghers head for Disney, Universal, and Vegas but now driving vacations are taking the lead.
“The outdoors, anything soft, adventures like kayaking and hiking and even swimming. We’re seeing a lot of the adventure of coming out and everyone, whether you’re a millennial or you’re the older crowd, myself included, that that has changed.”
She says the National Parks have taken over as a prime destination but the number one question they are hearing from travelers is how will they be impacted by the Coronavirus. “It is a fluid situation it’s ongoing today you’re booking a trip for next month, and we’re going to tell you what the restrictions are today, but we’re also going to follow through with you before we depart and tell you what changes, or what the restrictions are at that time.”
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Dr. Agus says air travel with a mask is pretty safe and “Hotels have developed pretty impressive COVID protocols. So both of those, you know, I think are safe when you’re talking about vacation as long as you’re with your pod and you minimize contact with others.”
Vaccinations are a factor as well. “The key to summer travel is if you are vaccinated, you are at a much lower risk of complication and probably could take some more risks. Not total risk, but some more risks than somebody who isn’t. When you look at where to go and how to stay and how you travel, it really depends on your level of risk tolerance and also your vaccination status, those are the two things you have to look at.”
And as for visiting with fully vaccinated older relatives Dr. Agus says, “If you are vaccinated, I probably wouldn’t hug somebody who’s noT, for the potential of some spread. That being said, you know, I mean it really depends again on your level of risk tolerance.”
But he says there is no question the vaccines and the lifting of travel restrictions make that light at the end of the tunnel a little brighter.
“That will enable us to do more fun things this summer, that we hope for. But it depends on the manufacturing the vaccines, the rollout of the vaccines and enough people being vaccinated to get toward herd immunity.”
And finally if you are booking a vacation, Williams says travel insurance is a must — but ask a lot of questions.
Some insurance policies will cover you if you get COVID-19 while traveling, while other policies will cover your vacation cost if you get sick and can’t go.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Wait In Line To Get License To Carry Permits In Monroeville
Make sure you ask for the fine print.