Travel Restrictions Amidst the Coronavirus Chaos
Yes, I’m calling it chaos. Because it can only be called chaos when my daughter asks me why the toilet paper aisle at Target “looks like they ran out of so much stuff”, and I don’t have the heart to tell her we adults are acting like the apocalypse is taking place before stores can restock fast enough, so as not to scare her even more.
To be honest, it’s a little nerve-wracking and we’re making it worse. Even I started hoarding toilet paper when my kids weren’t looking since I was afraid I wouldn’t find anymore on shelves. But I hated myself for it the entire time, as if I was admitting defeat to the hundreds of people encouraging the chaos. And I’m still trying to figure out why instead of hoarding food and medicine during this time we choose toilet paper—seriously confused about this.
But travel companies have yet to pretend it’s the apocalypse, thankfully. Yes, this may be slightly due to the fact they don’t want their industry to crash, or they may just be using common sense. You see, nobody wants Coronavirus to spread least more than the travel companies, because then they went from a slight problem, with slight travel worries today, to a bigger problem which is complete travel bans. And that will make their entire industry crash for a lengthy period of time. For any business this is a major disaster, especially during their busy time—in this case Spring Break.
For now, my family and I have decided to halt all travel plans for this Spring to avoid catching something and spreading it to our local communities back home. This could absolutely change last minute as hopefully this virus dies down and so does its spread.
We know many people who have also halted all travel plans, and travel companies are making it much easier to make those decisions last minute. They too understand that news is flocking in daily with new cases of Coronavirus spreading around the United States, even if still mild. Because we’re all still unsure of how this could go, travel companies have updated their cancellation and rebooking policies to coincide with these current events. Links to major ones all listed below for easy access.
All major United States airlines–Delta, Southwest, United, American, and Spirit have updated their policies with a statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click the previous links to see where your airline stands on this, but as a summary I can tell you now that every single airline is at least offering a one-time rebooking fee if you feel the need to cancel your upcoming Spring Break trip last minute. All have suspended flights to China and parts of Asia and Europe at this time as well, due to the CDC Travel Advisories. They’ve all also increased cleaning products used on their airplanes and have made a mention of their air-filtration systems which, quite frankly, are better than the air filtration systems in many of our homes. These statements are being updated often (daily actually as I’ve been checking many of them) coinciding with the new CDC statements and media coverage of the virus. But simply clicking the link will take you to the newest and updated information at any time.
So what are other major tourism industries doing? Well in response to the State Department’s advisory about postponing Cruise travel, many major Cruise Liners in the United States have also released statements as well. The summary is that all major Cruise Liners have cancelled and/or modified sailings to China, and parts of Asia and Europe. They are also increasing the health screening processes for all passengers, and if found to have high fevers and/or certain medical symptoms coinciding with the Coronavirus they and their family members will be unable to sail, and will need to undergo further medical testing.
—Disney Cruise Line is offering guests to rebook their Spring cruise up do the day before they sail, if they feel the need to. Royal Caribbean and Carnival have also made statements reminding passengers of their updated cleanliness procedures, but for now it seems only that Disney is offering the rebooking option.
What about Theme Parks? Yet another breeding ground for viruses to spread. But yet, it is actually quite shocking how clean some of them really are, even though thousands of people flock their daily. The summary is that all have increased their use of cleaning products, and placed even more hand sanitizing stations around their parks.
—Walt Disney World and Disneyland released an official statement last week from their Chief Medical Officer letting guests know of their updated cleaning procedures. And while they haven’t offered an official cancellation policy yet, guests should know that both Disney World and Disney Land do offer ticket modifications should you feel the need to change at least one-day before (prices can’t be modified/refunded for a lower-cost date however, and if rebooking for a higher-cost date the price difference will apply).
—Universal Studios have also released a statement reminding guests of their own cleaning procedures, and have updated their refund policy to include full refunds for tickets and hotel visits purchased March 4th-April 15th for visits from March 4th-August 31st.
–Both Legoland Florida and Legoland California have both released the same statement saying they’re monitoring travel advisories and remind guests who are coming from places affected by Coronavirus not to come into their park as it makes it more unhealthy and unsafe for all guests.
Last but not least, let’s continue to practice common sense and proper health and safety techniques. Proper hand-washing and sanitation procedures are key, as they should be daily. And as a mother I implore you, if you or your child is ill, whether with Coronavirus or anything else, don’t bring them into any travel situation as it makes it unsafe for all who are there, including my own family who may be there. And even if we’re not there, one sick person infects another, and so on, until it reaches my family back home. This is how disease spreads and becomes rampant.