WASHINGTON — What might travel look like as federal, state, and local jurisdictions continue to ease restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming weeks? The U.S. Travel Association (USTA), in collaboration with medical experts and a broad array of travel-related businesses and event industry organizations, proposed detailed guidance to the White House and governors for travel-related businesses to help keep their customers and employees safe as the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidance, titled “Travel in the New Normal,” outlines vigorous measures for the travel industry to follow to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission and to help communicate effectively during each step of a traveler’s journey. The group’s goal is to allow travel to safely resume as states and municipalities gradually relax restrictions on a variety of levels in their own jurisdictions.
The “Travel in the New Normal” guidance is focused on creating transmission barriers, enhancing sanitization, promoting health screening, and following food and beverage service guidance. Related: Click here to read the “Travel in the New Normal” document in its entirety.
“We want political leaders and the public alike to see that our industry is setting a very high standard for reducing the risk of coronavirus in our businesses and that the practices in place to achieve that standard are consistent through every phase of the travel experience,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “As travel reopens, travelers need the confidence that safety measures are in place from their departure to their return home.”
The guidance is meant to be followed in accordance with the CDC guidelines for Opening Up America Again, said Michael Parkinson, MD, MPH, FACPM, Past President, American College of Preventive Medicine, and Principal, P3 Health, during a press conference today. “We are proposing a layered approach to reduce the likelihood of transmission during travel,” he said.
Related. CDC guidelines for Opening Up America Again: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf
All of the major industry organizations — including the International Association of Exhibition & Events (IAEE), Events Industry Council (EIC), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Meeting Professional International (MPI), PCMA, Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), Meetings Mean Business (MMB) and Destinations International (DI) — collaborated and contributed to the “Travel in the New Normal” guidance.
“SISO was pleased to work with U.S. Travel Association and our fellow associations on the guidelines released today by USTA,” said Executive Director David Audrain. “These are an important baseline for the industry to build upon and we expect to see further guidelines and programs released in the coming weeks by others.”
IAEE President and CEO David DuBois told TSE: “The USTA has done an excellent job of defining the overarching guidelines and recommendations. Each individual industry segment, like exhibitions, is working on more guidelines that will be specific to the nuances and realities of their audiences and their circumstances.”