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Restrictions, more to know amid COVID-19

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With the pandemic hindering travel, few visitors have made the trip to this year, driving tourism-dependent local communities to desperation. (Aug. 1)

AP Domestic

Keeping track of what countries are open to Americans, along with any entrance rules, including negative COVID-19 tests and quarantine requirements upon arrival, can be more stressful than being wedged in a middle seat in economy on a long-haul flight.

So here are six things to keep in mind before you go down a planning rabbit hole for an international trip during a pandemic.

1. The U.S. State Department still advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel, an alert that has been in place since the pandemic heated up in March. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel, which includes vacations. Also check travel.state.gov for specific country recommendations related to coronavirus, including notes of any rise in cases that warrants extra caution due to reduced emergency medical care availability, such as that issued for the Dominican Republic

2. Make sure you’re on top of the destination’s health and safety protocols, including  any pre-trip requirements for a negative COVID-19 test, health screening forms and other documentation. You don’t want to arrive and be refused entry to the country or be told to quarantine for the length of your stay. In some places, beware of restrictions on leaving the hotel or resort except for approved attractions via approved transportation.

More: Where can Americans vacation internationally right now?

3. Restrictions and requirements can change rapidly, especially as COVID-19 cases spike in the U.S. and international destinations. Jamaica, Aruba and the Bahamas have each tightened entry requirements since reopening. Check airline, tourism board, hotel and travel websites for the latest information. Travel search site Kayak keeps an updated list of travel restrictions by country and you can sign up for alerts on changes.

4. Don’t expect everything to be open or business as usual at your destination. As in recently reopened U.S. destinations like Las Vegas, not all hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions are open due to capacity limits and uncertain demand. Beaches may be closed or have other restrictions, including reduced hours and social distancing. Research is key before booking any flights or vacation packages. 

In-depth: Here’s how to stay safe when flying during the coronavirus pandemic

5. Take note of airline, hotel and vacation rental cancellation and refund policies in case you need to change or cancel the trip, whatever the reason, and weigh any financial risks. Airlines, for example, generally won’t give you a cash refund on a non-refundable ticket simply because the destination you were planning to visit is closing to Americans again. 

5. Check for any quarantines your state might have when you return home if you’ve traveled to destinations with rising COVID-19 cases. The list of destinations is currently limited mostly to places within the United States, but New York just added Puerto Rico to its quarantine list and Chicago will, too, effective Aug. 7.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2020/08/06/us-international-travel-restrictions-more-know-amid-covid-19/3299302001/



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