Travel and COVID: What to Know Before Planning Your Spring Break Trip

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As people across the Chicago area begin to plan and take trips for spring break, it'll be beneficial to understand the latest COVID-19 protocol for traveling within and outside of the U.S.

From masking to proof of vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detail what is expected of travelers as coronavirus metrics continue to fall.

Here's what to know:

Do you have to wear a mask while traveling on an airplane, bus or train?

Though the CDC lifted indoor mask mandates at most locations across the country, given 90% of the U.S. is under low and medium transmission, face coverings are still required on public transportation and within travel hubs.

Based on the guidance, Americans must wear a mask on airplanes, buses and trains, as well as within airports and stations.

However, masks are not required in outdoor spaces, such as on open decks on a boat or on top of an uncovered bus, according to the CDC.

Do you need to show proof of vaccination to travel?

For domestic travel, U.S. citizens are not required to show proof of COVID vaccination to move from state to state via airplane, train or bus.

According to the CDC, only non-U.S. citizens who are nonimmigrants need to show proof of full COVID vaccination before traveling by air to the U.S.

Some airlines in the U.S. and globally require a negative test result within days of travel regardless of citizenship or vaccination status.

Though American-based airlines don't require a COVID vaccine for domestic travel, some global spots and international airlines continue to demand proof of vaccination. The CDC advised travelers to check with each individual airline and local health guidelines for the latest COVID protocols.

What is considered 'fully vaccinated' by the CDC?

Federal officials consider a person "fully vaccinated" against COVID two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A booster shot is not necessary to be considered "fully vaccinated," the CDC noted.

What if you feel sick or have been exposed to COVID?

The CDC recommends that anyone who feels sick, has tested positive for COVID or is waiting for a test result should not travel.

For people who had close contact with a person with COVID and are recommended to quarantine, the CDC said the individual should not travel for at least five days and receive a negative COVID test result. Officials recommend avoiding travel, if possible, for at least 10 days.

What states have been dropped from Chicago's travel advisory?

As of Tuesday, Maryland, District of Columbia, Nebraska, Ohio, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have all been removed from Chicago's travel order, which required unvaccinated residents to get tested for COVID and quarantine upon arrival in the city.

By next week, the city noted more than a dozen other locations could be removed.

In Hawaii, the only state to to implement a coronavirus quarantine program of its kind, the state plans to lift its COVID quarantine requirement for travelers this month, meaning that starting on March 26 those arriving from other places in the U.S. won't have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to avoid sequestering themselves for five days.

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