The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that unvaccinated travelers not travel to visit family this holiday season until they get their COVID shot.
In new holiday travel guidance released on Friday, the agency said that “CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.”
“We fully expect that families and friends will gather for the holidays this year and we have updated our guidance on how to best to stay safe over the holidays,” the CDC said Friday in a statement.
“Holiday traditions are important for families and children,” the agency said in its 2021 holiday guidance. “Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.”
You should also protect those not eligible for the vaccine, like young children, by getting those around them vaccinated, the CDC said.
Unvaccinated people who “must” travel are advised to take extra precautions including getting tested for COVID before and after travel, self-quarantining for at least a week after travel, self-monitoring for symptoms, and wearing a mask.
If you will be traveling with unvaccinated people, the CDC recommends choosing “safer travel options,” including keeping road trips short with few stops, taking flights with fewer layovers, not staying in hotels with common areas, and not “visiting an unvaccinated family member’s or friend’s home.” If you are gathering with people from multiple households from different parts of the country, you should also consider taking extra precautions, the agency said.
Those who are not fully vaccinated should wear face masks in “public indoor settings,” the CDC said. “Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission,” the agency added, saying, “outdoors is safer than indoors.”
People with weakened immune systems may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose, the CDC warned, saying those people should “continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people.”
“Children between the ages of 2 and 12 should wear a mask in public spaces and around people they don’t live with,” but children younger than 2 years old should not wear a mask, the CDC said.
“By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends,” the CDC concluded.
The CDC’s new guidance comes amid pushback to vaccine mandates across the country and concerns that Thanksgiving travel could be thrown into chaos due to unvaccinated Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers.
As of last week, 40 percent of TSA workers were still unvaccinated as the Biden administration’s Nov. 22 vaccination deadline for civilian federal government workers creeps closer.
Last year, Halloween trick-or-treating was effectively canceled, but this year children may be able to enjoy the Halloween night tradition again.
“If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said of trick-or-treating this month.