On January 29, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the outbreak of a mysterious virus that is spreading in Wuhan, China. At the time, 59 people were officially infected with coronavirus-related pneumonia. To avoid further spread, experts suggested travel arrangements. Four days after the announcement, the United States restricted global air travel and declared COVID-19 a national emergency.
To date, more than 147,211,802 people have been infected with the virus worldwide. However, the number of new outbreaks is falling thanks to efficient safety practices like social distancing and the role of multiple vaccines. In response to the drop in new infection rates, the United States and much of the world are easing their travel restrictions.
Can I travel to rehab?
It is now well documented that drug abuse rates have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 40% of American adults reported struggling with mental health or drug use, with 13% starting or increasing their drug use during the pandemic.
These rising rates have led many people to seek necessary treatment in inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Rehabilitation facilities are essential and have been operated with increased hygiene practices and social distancing during COVID, but that doesn’t remove the insecurity some patients feel during this time.
The trip to rehab is often mandatory due to the patient’s location. Finding a rehab that meets specific needs is critical and sometimes rehab is not always accessible by car. Others may want to explore luxury rehab in beautiful destinations, while others want the opportunity to move away from the area they used to use and focus solely on their recovery. Fortunately, according to CDC guidelines, traveling can be done safely.
Current COVID regulations for domestic travelers
The current COVID regulations for travel vary by state. However, the CDC published new guidelines on April 2, 2021.
Fully vaccinated domestic travelers
The CDC’s new guidelines state that travelers are fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine:
- You don’t have to quarantine yourself.
- You don’t need to test negative before traveling unless your travel destination requires it.
- Should wear a mask over the nose and mouth.
- It is recommended to stay 6 feet away from others and avoid crowds.
- You will be asked to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser frequently.
- Must self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms after travel.
- If you develop COVID-related symptoms, you need to isolate and get tested.
- Should follow any state and local recommendation or requirement.
It is important to note that if you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months, you do not need to be tested or quarantined. However, you should follow all other travel recommendations.
To be clear, fully vaccinated travelers are generally people who have had their second dose of an FDA-cleared vaccine for 2 weeks. Examples of the 2-dose series are vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna. People who do not meet the above requirement will not be fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated domestic travelers
For those who are not vaccinated, different rules apply when traveling. To protect yourself and others, the CDC recommends:
- Take a virus test 1-3 days before departure.
- Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth.
- Avoid crowds.
- Stay 6 feet, which is about 2 arm lengths from anyone who won’t travel with you.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as often as possible.
- Do a virus test 3-5 days after the trip.
- Once at home, after a trip in self-quarantine for a full 7 days (even if the test results are negative).
For those who do not want to get tested, please stay home. The CDC recommends unvaccinated travelers to self-quarantine for 10 days after traveling. They also suggest avoiding people at increased risk of serious illness for 14 days.
Current COVID regulations for international travelers
Because of the proliferation of new or worrying varieties of international travel, people must follow different guidelines. Even if a person is fully vaccinated when visiting a foreign country, the person must carefully monitor the COVID-19 situation before leaving.
Fully vaccinated international travelers
For those needing to travel during the pandemic, here are some guidelines the CDC recommends for international travelers. Once a person is fully vaccinated and decides to travel, the CDC recommends the following:
- Before you travel, find out about travel, testing, or quarantine requirements.
- Understand and follow all airline and travel destination standards that may differ from the US.
- Find out about the current COVID-19 situation in your travel destination.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
- Avoid crowds and keep a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone who will not be traveling with you.
- Wash your hands often.
- Wear and use hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol or more.
- Upon return to the US, all passengers must have a negative COVID-19 test result no older than 3 days.
- In the United States, people should get a virus test 3 to 5 days after arrival.
- Self-monitoring for symptoms.
- If travelers experience symptoms, they should isolate themselves and get tested.
As a reminder, travelers who do not meet the requirements of their travel destination may be refused entry to their travel destination. These people must return to the United States
Unvaccinated international travelers
People who are not fully vaccinated are advised not to travel at this time to reduce their exposure to the virus. However, if a person does need to travel, the CDC has guidelines that he or she can follow, such as:
- Before traveling, do a virus test 1-3 days before departure.
- Understand and follow all airline and travel destination requirements.
- Know that travel, testing, or quarantine policies may differ from the United States
- Please note that due to the COVID-related guidelines, you may be refused entry to a foreign destination.
- Travelers who fail to comply with overseas international travel regulations may need to return to the United States
- Before you travel, find out how the destination is dealing with the pandemic.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public.
- Avoid crowds.
- Stay at least two meters away from those who are not part of your tour group.
- Wash your hands often.
- Wear and use disinfectants that contain at least 60% alcohol.
It is important that anyone visiting a new travel destination stays informed of the CDC’s guidelines. Over time, more people will be vaccinated and COVID-19 rates will change. In response, the CDC will update its recommendations to reflect the available scientific evidence and conditions. In the meantime, our team recommends everyone to continue practicing social distancing and staying alert.
Traveling to rehab during COVID
Travel during the pandemic is possible. If you or a loved one is interested in a rehab trip, ask for help. Contact one of our treatment providers so that they can help you with all questions about rehab. They can help you find the right travel and relaxation options for you or your loved one. Don’t wait another day. Call us now.