At Cedez Travel, the health and safety of our clients is always top of mind. As the coronavirus situation evolves, we want you to know that we are working hard to stay up-to-date on all the facts so that we can help address any of your travel concerns. We’re here to help you travel smarter. We are also in constant contact with our suppliers (i.e. airlines, hotels, tour operators and cruise lines) to understand their latest policies and terms to benefit all of our clients whose travel has been impacted.
Here is some information that may be helpful.
March 19, 2020
The U.S. State Department today, March 19, announced a Level 4 travel advisory applying to all international travel and instructing all Americans abroad to either return to the United States or prepare to “remain abroad for an indefinite period,” given the global threat of the coronavirus outbreak. The Level 4, “Do Not Travel,” is the most severe warning.
Those currently abroad should attempt to depart by commercial means. Travel advisors should proactively attempt contact with clients to assist them in arranging return travel. Although airlines have cancelled many international flights, options are still available. Several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If your clients choose to travel internationally, their travel plans may be severely disrupted, and they may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe. The State Department says: “U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.”
U.S. citizens who remain abroad should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities’ guidance for prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment for COVID-19. U.S. citizens remaining abroad should shelter in place as much as possible and limit contact with others, including large gatherings. Consider stocking up on food and other supplies to limit movement outside the home. If the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide assistance to U.S. nationals abroad may be limited, depending on country.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) resources:
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are monitoring the situation in real-time. Both organizations have issued guidance for preventing exposure to respiratory illnesses. Older adults or those with chronic medical conditions may want to seek the advice of a medical professional.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has developed materials for patients, policymakers and health professionals, each subject to change as the situation evolves. A Patient Guide to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Travel warnings and advisories:
Both the U.S. State Department and governments and official tourism bureaus of destinations are great resources. They will give you up-to-date travel advisories as well as any information about the spread of coronavirus in their countries.
Flu and Pneumonia report & resources:
We advise that you also be informed about our yearly flu impacts here in the United States. While the Coronavirus has grabbed the media headlines, it is still very important to be diligent to avoid the flu and pneumonia here at home.
The CDC Weekly Surveillance Report reports flu activity in many areas in the United States.
- CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 36 million flu illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths from flu. (As of the March 7, 2020 report)
- Pneumonia and influenza mortality has been low, but 144 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this season. This number is higher for the same time period than in every season since reporting began in 2004-05, except for the 2009 pandemic. (As of the March 7, 2020 report)
Our cruise clients can rest assured knowing that we have always monitored the Norovirus activity on cruise ships. The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) requires cruise ships to log and report the number of passengers and crew who say they have symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.
Making the decision to travel:
Many of our clients are continuing with their current travel plans or adopting a “wait and see” approach for future trips. We are happy to talk through any concerns you may have so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Practical advice when traveling:
As you prepare to travel, please follow the CDC recommendations for health precautions. Practice good hygiene, good hand hygiene, cover your cough, avoid contact with symptomatic people, stay home if you are ill, and use a disinfecting wipe to clean hard surfaces while traveling.
When traveling internationally, we encourage you to enroll in the STEP program. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. As an enrolled traveler, you can receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in a destination country, help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, and help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
What if I have to change my immediate plans?
Talk to us about ideas for booking a spring, summer or fall vacation. Many travel providers have great value-added offers and have introduced flexible policies in the event your plans change. We can assist you in finding an alternate vacation destination or moving your trip to a later time.
Whether traveling domestically or internationally, we strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance at the time of booking for an additional layer of protection . Only certain “cancel for any reason” policies will allow you to cancel your trip without a specific incident.
No matter when or where you are traveling, having a trusted travel advisor can give you peace of mind. As always, we appreciate your business and are here to serve you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.