UNSPLASH PHOTO COURTESY OF Annie Spratt
After nearly a year and a half of travel restrictions, many people have vacation and travel on their minds.
Polls from tripadvisor’s Summer Travel Index have shown that more than two-thirds of Americans are planning to travel this summer and, according to the New York Times, there has been nearly a 75% increase in the number of searches for late summer flights, as compared to in late February. This is not proportionate to the amount of people who are fully vaccinated, however, which stands at just over 40 percent.
Despite the dangers of having so many unvaccinated Americans traveling in and out of the country, lawmakers from 40 states have created legislation that bans vaccine passport requirements. Without a reliable system to verify vaccinations, it becomes difficult for unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to assess the risks of the places they travel to and decide whether to follow COVID restrictions.
Math teacher Scott Stengele received his second vaccination in April and is planning to travel to the Poconos this summer. He feels that vaccinated travelers should uphold some COVID precautions to promote cautious behavior, such as three feet social distance, but that restrictions should be minimal.
“If we believe that vaccinations are effective, some of those restrictions should stop,” Stengele said. “One of my thoughts would be, if none of the restrictions go away, what kind of was the point of getting vaccinated?”
Despite the lack of vaccination passport requirements, vaccinated travelers do get some perks. On April 2, the CDC announced that individuals who have been vaccinated with an authorized vaccine can safely travel within the United States and are not required to self quarantine before or after international travel. This also means that vaccinated travelers don’t need to wear masks in most situations and can host maskless gatherings with other vaccinated people.
Vaccinated people are still required to follow certain COVID-19 mandates, such as wearing a mask on planes, airports, buses and other forms of public transportation. These mandates are required, despite the extremely low chance for a vaccinated individual to catch or spread the virus. The CDC has stressed the importance of staying cautious, however, and has made multiple recommendations for safe traveling, such as wearing masks, keeping a social distance and avoiding COVID exposures.
At CHS, about 40 percent of students agree that vaccinated people should not need to wear masks. More than 95 percent of students who have received the COVID vaccine said that they felt safer traveling because of their vaccination. Most students do believe that vaccinated people should still wear masks, however, at least for now.
Erin Burke, a Senior from Allentown also thinks that it is too early for the mask mandates to be lifted for vaccinated people.
“For the time being, I think it’s the best decision,” she said. “It feels like we’re jumping the gun on this one. Give it another month or two.”