So after an eternity of social distancing, virtual meetings, and going back and forth about the safety guidelines, the COVID situation appears to finally be getting better. Vaccines have been made readily available, businesses have started opening back up, and the idea of sitting down for dinner in a restaurant no longer seems terrifying.
But there’s a lot of information out there, so here’s a rundown of what we know.
1. Masks Off
So, good news: the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced in May that vaccinated individuals can now safely remove their masks in most indoor public settings.
Specifically, the CDC stated “fully vaccinated people could resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. If you’re fully vaccinated, you can do what you did before the pandemic started.”
The CDC website also includes links to help locate vaccine distribution centers.
Because of this announcement, many businesses that have been closed or operating in limited capacities have decided to open back to full capacity. Some businesses will continue to require safety precautions such as social distancing and the wearing of masks, but that will be decided on a case-by-case basis, even in chain stores. It would be wise to keep a mask handy, just in case a store still asks customers to wear one while shopping.
2. Traveling Abroad
While traveling out of the country was out of the questions for much of 2020, Reuters reported on May 19, 2021, that European Union countries had agreed to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-EU visitors ahead of the summer tourist season. The report added a new set of criteria would be established for countries deemed safe and vaccinated tourists.
So anybody who had plans last year to visit Paris could get their chance this year, so long as they meet the new travel criteria.
No word yet on what the cost to travel will be, though. Before the travel bans last year, airline flights reached ridiculously low prices. But with demand expected to rise up, flying to Europe might become more expensive.
Fortunately, local travel looks pretty good right now, too.
3. Traveling Local
Wanderlust won’t be limited to people looking to travel outside of the country. Thanks to being more or less shut in for the last year, even a trip to a neighboring state can seem an exciting prospect.
Travel guidelines for planes and airports will continue to be the purview of the individual airports and transportation companies, so don’t be surprised if the airlines request that masks remain on for the duration of a flight. And the demand for travel expected to skyrocket, expect crowding and big gatherings inside the terminals.
And while the change in pandemic guidelines might not address any air travel anxieties like overcrowding and high ticket prices, it should be noted interest has also been raised for boat and train travel.
The best advice? Keep a mask handy, even if you don’t have to wear one all the time.