Planning a trip presents logistical challenges under the best of circumstances.
Throw a pandemic into the mix, and it gets even more complicated.
I’m hoping to go to Maine in early July to see my parents, but the Pine Tree State is only welcoming visitors who quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or have recently tested negative for COVID-19. My plan is to get tested and proceed with my trip if I am virus-free.
I would prefer not to do any of this, of course.
I’d prefer to go back to a simpler time, when travel restrictions on out-of-state visitors weren’t necessary.
But that’s not the world we live in at the moment, and probably won’t be for some time. At least 26 states are seeing new coronavirus cases increase compared with the prior week. New York isn’t one of those states, but that doesn’t mean I object to Maine’s requirements for out-of-state visitors.
Far from it.
If I have to go through a few hoops to spend some time with my aging parents, I’m happy to do so. I don’t want them to get sick, and a clean bill of health will help bring peace of mind to all of us. I’d also like to be a good guest. Not just in their home, but in their state. If that requires following rules aimed at preventing tourists from carrying a deadly disease over the border, I’ll do my best to comply.
I would hope people traveling to New York exercise similar prudence.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced that travelers from states with high rates of COVID-19 infection will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.
This is a reasonable expectation, given New York’s success in getting coronavirus under control.
Nor is it unusual.
Other states have issued quarantine orders, and some of them, such as Florida’s, apply specifically to visitors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Florida, it’s worth noting, has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, and is one of nine states covered by the new tri-state travel advisory.
Are these travel restrictions a hassle?
Do they sometimes seem to have an accusatory tone, as governors single out people from COVID-19 hotspots? Was traveling more fun before we had to worry about such things?
The answer to all three questions is yes, of course, but this is not a normal summer. Those of us heading out on vacation need to take precautions. If we don’t, the virus will spread.
Some have wondered how states will enforce their travel advisories, which is always the trickiest part of COVID-19-related directives. On Wednesday, it wasn’t clear how much enforcement there would actually be, with the governors saying that enforcement is up to each state.
I’d argue that enforcement matters less than one might think.
Yes, some people will ignore COVID-19 travel restrictions and get away with it. But others will take the restrictions seriously. Most people are rule followers, and issuing new rules around travel ensures a certain level of compliance.
I know I plan to follow state travel guidelines for travel, even if the chances of getting pulled over by a state trooper because I have New York plates and sent home are probably slim.
I plan to follow the guidelines because they make sense, and I hope others feel the same way.
Reach Sara Foss at [email protected] Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.