What to do about summer travel plans during coronavirus

HOUSTON – The CDC’s updated practical advice for using public transportation, rideshares and air travel was consistent with other advice on preventing infection: Wash your hands and be careful what you touch.

To improve air circulation, open windows, especially in cars.

Infectious disease doctor Linda Yancey from Memorial Hermann in Katy said air travel has more risks, but spacing rows between your family and others could help.

“The way your circulation on airplanes works is you are sharing air with people to either side of the aisle with you and a couple of rows backward and forwards. The air circulation goes around, not up and down the plane. I know a lot of airlines are trying to distance people in alternate rows, that’s actually a good way of isolating people in pockets of air flow,” Yancey said.

When traveling by air, bus, car or train, the CDC recommends you limit touching frequently touched surfaces such as:

  • Kiosks
  • Touchscreens and fingerprint scanners
  • Ticket machines
  • Turnstiles
  • Handrails
  • Restroom surfaces
  • Elevator buttons
  • Benches

If you must touch these surfaces, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as soon as possible.

Yancey said there’s also increasing proof that masks will keep you safer.

“Wear a mask or a face covering, that is very important for protecting the people around you. Cloth face coverings work just fine just make sure you’ve got at least two layers of cloth,” she said.

Consider traveling during non-peak hours when there are likely to be fewer people.

Please respect social distancing instructions offered by transit authorities. For example, looking for floor decals or signs indicating where to stand or sit to remain at least six feet apart from others.

Yancey says this will be the norm for many months. So, it’s not always feasible to avoid traveling, but you should make it a priority to keep yourself and those around you healthy.