Is it safe to travel for the holidays in 2020 during the pandemic?

The end of the year is sneaking up, and people are weighing travel plans to join friends and family for the holidays — all against the backdrop of a deadly pandemic.



a group of people walking down the street: There's a lot more to consider when planning holiday travel in 2020.


© Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images
There’s a lot more to consider when planning holiday travel in 2020.

Gathering with others — probably the most universal holiday tradition — has never required so much meticulous forethought.

Should you travel for the holidays in 2020? What precautions will make it safer? Who will be there and how careful have they been?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that travel increases the chances of contracting and spreading Covid-19. Staying home is the best way to protect against getting and spreading the virus, yet many people are likely to travel before the year is over.



a sign on the side of a snow covered car in a parking lot: Driving is not without risks, but your interactions with others can be more easily controlled than with air travel.


© Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images
Driving is not without risks, but your interactions with others can be more easily controlled than with air travel.

CNN spoke with medical experts on how to reduce the risks around holiday travel and when you really should skip it altogether.

Should you travel for the holidays this year?

“Probably not, if you are anxious or vulnerable,” says Dr. Richard Dawood, a travel medicine specialist and director at Fleet Street Clinic in London.

But traveling is fine if you’re willing to be cautious, follow the rules and adapt easily to changes of plan, he said.

“I think the threshold for travel at this time should still be higher than before the pandemic,” says Dr. Henry Wu, director of Emory TravelWell Center and associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.



a statue of a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Staying in a hotel may give guests more control of their environment than staying with friends or relatives.


© Benno Schwinghammer/picture alliance/Getty Images
Staying in a hotel may give guests more control of their environment than staying with friends or relatives.

“If you do choose to travel, try to keep gatherings small and take precautions,” such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene, Wu said.

Who should skip it?

People who are especially vulnerable to severe Covid-19 illness are safest staying home.

“Are you older, are you frail, do you have chronic underlying illnesses?” are the questions to ask, says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

People who are considering meeting up with vulnerable relatives or friends should really weigh the implications of introducing illness to them, Wu said.

“There are well-documented Covid-19 clusters associated with family gatherings, including ones that resulted in deaths,” he said.

Are some locations safer than others?

Gatherings are likely safer in areas around the world where infections remain low, although the standard precautions still apply.



a group of people sitting at a table: Joining hands around a crowded holiday table is best skipped this year.


© Shutterstock
Joining hands around a crowded holiday table is best skipped this year.

For example, it may be possible to have a “relatively normal” Thanksgiving gathering in parts of the United States where infections are very low, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“But in other areas of the

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From dentist bills to holidays: Your key coronavirus questions answered

Can my employer force me to take holiday now? Will I still have to pay for a holiday abroad even though I can’t travel? And why am I continuing to pay my dentist every month when they’re shut? 

These are just some of the issues readers have raised in recent days as the country remains in lockdown. 

Sarah Bridge talks to the experts to get the answers.

Show-stopper: Concerts are being cancelled – including one by Andre Rieu, above – due to the coronavirus

Show-stopper: Concerts are being cancelled – including one by Andre Rieu, above – due to the coronavirus

TIME OFF… AND THE FURLOUGH ISSUE

James Morris writes: ‘My boss has told me I have to take my eight outstanding days holiday in the next four weeks. Can my company force this on me and my colleagues?’

Catherine Kerr, partner and head of employment at law firm Primas, replies: ‘Employers have a right to ask employees to take holiday as long as they provide correct notice, which is double the notice of the holiday period. In your case, your employer should have given you 16 days’ notice of its intention for you to take eight days’ holiday. 

‘Whether or not it is reasonable for an employer to ask employees to take holidays during this crisis remains to be seen as the Government’s guidance is silent on this point.’

Richard Wilson writes: ‘My son has a small building business. He has work which can be carried out using all the safeguards advised. Some of the employees want to be furloughed and are refusing to work on site. We can’t afford to furlough them. 

‘Is it ok to lay them off without pay? Or do we terminate their contract seeing that they are refusing to work on site – or are we likely to be taken to court for constructive dismissal?’

Kerr replies: ‘If there is work to be done and it can be done safely and in line with Government guidance, your employees cannot be furloughed as there is work for them to do and you can ask them to do it. You can choose to furlough some employees you don’t need – it doesn’t cost the employer anything.

‘If you decide to terminate their employment on the basis that they are refusing to work, you would need to engage them in a fair and reasonable dismissal process to try to reduce the risk of an unfair dismissal claim via the employment tribunal. 

‘However, only employees that have worked for you for a continuous period of two years or more can claim unfair dismissal.’

I’M STILL PAYING FOR DENTAL TREATMENT

Keith Kiely writes: ‘I pay £81 per month via direct debit for dental treatment to Denplan. My dentist is now closed to patients. My dentist has offered to reduce my payment to a lower treatment plan, even though she is no longer treating patients. 

‘During this current situation with limited finances, I feel my monthly payments would be better used helping my family rather than enabling my dentist to continue to earn an income.’

Dentist costs: Patients with a monthly plan with Denplan can suspend cover

Dentist costs:

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Dentist’s Day, March 6. Daily Calendar Holidays by Holiday Insights


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Dentist’s Day


Dentist Day, March holiday.


Date When Celebrated : This holiday is always March 6


Dentist’s Day is a day to display a big, toothy smile. After all, your Dentist
plays a role in that big, bright smile. He’s an important person in keeping
your smile bright, and your teeth and mouth healthy.  


If your Dentist is such an important person, then why are we so scared of
the next dental visit? Is it perhaps the fear of discovering a cavity? Maybe,
he will find the beginnings of gum disease?  The fear of the dentist
ranks right up there with…. the fear of pulling teeth! 


Among the ways to celebrate today are:


  • Giving your dentist a big “TY”

  • Sending your dentist an Ecard or stationary card

  • Making a dental appointment(if you haven’t been there in a while)

  • Start using dental floss daily

  • Improving your daily dental care routine

  • Showing off your great smile


Also see Tooth Ache Day
and Tooth Fairy Day.


Origin of “Dentist’s Day”:


Our research did not find the creator, or the origin of this day. Most likely,
it was a dental group or organization.


Ecards Send a free
Ecard daily for just about any March calendar holiday, occasion, observance or
event. Or, just for the fun of it! 


Flower of the Day:
Penstemon


Recipe of the Day:
Irish
Soda Bread


What happened on this Day?
This Day in
History


March Birthdays


 




Holiday Insights, where every day in March is a holiday, a bizarre or wacky day, an observance, or a special event. Join us in the
daily calendar fun each and every day of
the year.


Did You Know? There are literally thousands of daily holidays,
special events and observances, more than one for every day of the year.
Many of these holidays are new, and more are being created on a regular basis.
Holidays in March are no exception. At Holiday
Insights, we strive to thoroughly research and record the details of each one
as completely and accurately as possible.



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