CDC’s Latest COVID-19 safety guidelines for travelers

The recent change in the COVID-19 safety guidelines updated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 01 September 2021 is a great news to all travelers. Based on the travel safety measures and hygiene protocols, the CDC officially amended its guidelines. These changes have been quite advantageous, especially for those travelers who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you’ve been stuck up at home for over a year with threats from the novel coronavirus and the pandemic, it is now time to pack your bags and check for safe destinations that you can travel so that you can replenish your lost liveliness and get back to life. Yes, of course, don’t forget to take major safety precautions while you travel.

Wearing mask in public to ensure safety against the COVID 19
Wearing mask in public to ensure safety against the COVID 19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the changes in the guidelines while the US Food and Drug Administration have authorized Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Jansen COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. FDA certified the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to be given out as boosters at least six months after completion of the primary Pfizer-BioNTech series in certain populations. These group include:

  • Persons 65 years of age and above
  • Persons 16 to 64 years of age who are at high risk of severe COVID-19, and
  • Persons between 16 and 64 years of age whose frequent exposure to the virus puts them at high risk of serious complications.

With CDC unveiling the newly updated guidelines, fully vaccinated persons can now attend small outdoor gatherings, even without wearing a mask and can now resume social activities safely with others who have been inoculated with the vaccine. This, indeed is a great news to avid travelers from around the world.

What are the major changes in the COVID-19 safety guidelines?

Here are some of the major changes or relaxations made by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Vaccinated persons are now allowed to socialize indoors with unvaccinated people of any age without physical distancing and without wearing a mask as long as not more than two households are mixing up.
  • Unvaccinated people are allowed to socialize with fully vaccinated family and friend circle outdoors, even without wearing masks or social distancing.
  • Those wishing to go to a festival or crowded outdoor event is possible for fully vaccinated persons provided you wear a mask as a safety precaution.’
  • No pre-travel testing or post-travel quarantine required for fully vaccinated people for domestic travel.
  • No quarantine required upon returning from international travel, although you might require to produce a certificate of negative PCR test report within 72 hours.
  • Mask up while traveling via public forms of transport such as planes, buses, or trains.
  • CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Vaccinated people who have come in close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, needs to be tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for two weeks or until they receive a negative PCR report.
  • Travelers need not test before leaving the United States for international travel, unless required by the destination. They may also refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back from their travel destination.
  • People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses.
  • Fully vaccinated air travelers entering the United States from abroad are required to have a negative PCR test report.
  • To reduce risks of being infected with the Delta variant and potentially spread to others, you are recommended to wear a mask in public indoor settings, get immediately tested if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and isolate if you have been tested positive.

Consequently, bringing the tourism industry is just one step closer from coming back to normalcy. Here is a guideline for some things that you need to know and that will help you choose safer activities during your travel.

Can I now plan my travel holidays?

Although several countries have eased the restrictions to travel for fully vaccinated people, we recommend travelers to fully understand the COVID-19 health and safety protocols of the country they plan to travel. So, before booking a trip, get to know whether the destination you plan to travel to have stricter protocols than your native country. Even though the CDC has eased the travel situations through their new guidelines, they have urged people to refrain from non-essential gatherings and travel, whether domestic or international.

Traveling during the ongoing pandemic

Travelers who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can visit the CDC Website and know more about what you can start to do and what you should keep doing.

List of countries you can travel to if you are fully vaccinated

CDC has enlisted a whole list of travel recommendations by destination categorizing the risk assessment level of COVID-19 pandemic. In their list, it is clearly mentioned for travelers to avoid certain destinations where the risk of contagion is very high. Likewise, they have grouped in a similar manner, countries that can be traveled to, but where the risk of infection could be high, moderate or low. You can find a safe destination before you pack your bags if you now wish to get out from the confinement of your homes.

Zanzibar Beach in Tanzania; Country you can travel to after being vaccinated
Zanzibar Beach in Tanzania; Country you can travel to after being vaccinated

Some countries have not reported cases of the coronavirus to the CDC, thus these countries have been classified under unknown level of risk. In addition, the CDC has urged travelers to avoid all non-essential travel to the countries who haven’t reported or have stopped reporting on the COVID-19 data. For a detailed list of countries categorized as safe, moderate, high and very high risk level, you can visit CDC’s COVID-19 travel recommendations by destination page.

New travel safety guidelines followed by Himalayan Glacier

Himalayan Glacier is committed to follow all the health and safety protocols as updated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently. Safety of our clients has always remained our paramount concern. However, we recommend visitors to use masks whenever feasible, especially at places where there are more people or on public platforms. You can find out what type of mask you will need while on an adventure journey with us.

Himalayan Glacier ensuring increased standards of safety to compile with new CDC guidelines
Himalayan Glacier Staffs wearing masks to break the chain

As a leading travel and adventure company, Himalayan Glacier has been ensuring increased standards of safety. Not only for travelers but our trek leaders and porters also have been strictly practicing safety guidelines during all of our trips. Here are some tips on how to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic with our team.

All the office staff including the field staff, that is trekking leaders and porters of the company, receives appropriate training. In adherence to the World Health Organization (WHO), CDC or World Travel & Council (WTTC), we remain updated on any health and safety guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I plan a travel holiday if I am fully vaccinated?

You can start doing many things including going out on an adventure holiday if you are fully vaccinated. You need to know what countries you can travel to if you are vaccinated while you comply with the newly updated safety guidelines by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Traveling to Nepal has now become easier as on-arrival visa service has resumed, without even having to undergo self-quarantine.

Which is safer, indoor or outdoor activities, if I have been vaccinated?

Based on the studies done by researchers, CDC has reasoned out that outdoor activities are much safer than indoor activities. However, if you have been fully vaccinated, you may as well participate in some indoor activities without much risk.

How can I consider myself fully vaccinated against COVID-19?

Generally, you will be considered fully vaccinated only two weeks after taking your second dose of a 2-dose series vaccine, like the Pfizer or Moderna. You may also be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Jansen vaccine. However, the US FDA has now authorized the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to be administered as boosters at least six months after completion of the primary Pfizer-BioNTech series in certain population groups.

Can I attend a festival or any crowded event if I am vaccinated?

Yes. According to the updated safety guidelines issued by the CDC, it is safe for you to attend a festival or any crowded outdoor event as long as you wear your mask.

Should I wear a mask even after being fully vaccinated?

It is always safer when you wear a mask, especially during all forms of public transit, which includes planes, trains or buses. So, we highly recommend you to wear your mask whether you are vaccinated or not. Although fully vaccinated people need not wear a mask outdoors, they are free to choose to wear a mask, especially in crowded outdoor settings.

What should I continue to do after getting both doses of COVID-19 vaccine?

As recommended by the CDC, you are required to take precautions in outdoor public settings by wearing a good-fit mask. It is more safe when you wear your mask and indulge in indoor activities with people who are unvaccinated. You must also continue avoiding indoor large-sized social gatherings. Although you have been fully vaccinated, don’t ignore getting testing for COVID-19 virus if you experience any symptoms. Keep following the CDC guidelines as well as your country’s health department travel requirements. For detailed health recommendations to people inoculated with both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, you can click here

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