First of all, if you’re ill, if you’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 in the 14 days before traveling, or if you’re in a high-risk category (or live with someone who is), it’s best to stay home. According to the CDC, “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
If you pass the first hurdle, travel wisely by taking steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. The CDC strongly urges everyone to wear a cloth mask that covers your mouth and nose when using all forms of public transportation, from taxis to trains to planes.
Additional steps to take:
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating and after coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you’re unable to wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others.
- Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces like handrails and elevator buttons.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is ill.
Car travel may be the most controllable atmosphere, but the Mayo Clinic offers some suggestions if you’re driving:
- Make as few stops as possible.
- Pack cloth face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
- Take food and water in case dining options are limited; use drive-through instead of dine-in where available.
- Wipe down handles and touchpads at the gas station.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds once you reach your destination.
Airport departure and arrival
Air is filtered on airplanes, preventing the easy spread of viruses. However, social distancing often isn’t possible on an airplane, so it’s essential to follow guidelines from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Per mandate by Nevada’s governor, all travelers at the
Reno-Tahoe International Airport is the closest commercial airport are required to wear a face-covering over their mouths and noses. Only ticketed travelers and employees are allowed in the terminals. Signs and announcements provide reminders to stay 6 feet apart.
The airport has implemented other practices to help travelers and employees remain safe, such as using a hospital-grade disinfectant on surfaces like kiosks, escalators and door handles, locating hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the building; and cleaning inter-terminal shuttles between each trip and limiting capacity on buses. Some facilities have been temporarily closed, including certain lounge areas, viewing areas, children’s play areas and some gates. Valet parking is limited, as are dining and shopping options.
To minimize face-to-face contact, airport officials recommend using online check-in and a mobile boarding pass, bringing carry-on luggage only and packing hand sanitizer.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures for equipment at screening checkpoints, and officers change gloves after each pat-down.
Other changes in the screening procedure:
- Placing boarding passes on the scanner and holding them up for inspection instead of handing them to TSA officers
- Allowance of one container of hand sanitizer of up to 12 ounces
- Food items, keys, wallets, phones and other personal items should be carried in a plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening, rather than left in carry-on luggage, to reduce handling