US travel post COVID-19

 

Compiled by the US Travel Association, the industry guidance report “Travel in the New Normal” has been submitted to the White House and state governors.

The US travel industry of hotels, resorts, airports, airlines, travel advisors etc, came together to produce the guidance, working with health and medical experts, to reach collective agreement on a core set of health and safety guidance that the industry may adapt to their businesses. 

The guidance reflects the role of the travel industry in promoting the health and safety of customers and employees. It states travellers must also follow health guidelines to do their part to help protect their families and those around them.

This travel industry guidance assumes a phased approach to reopening travel. In the earliest stages of reopening, travel businesses will reinforce guidance relating to vulnerable individuals. Travel industry guidance may evolve and be updated as the nation moves through different stages of reopening, as the science and data become clearer, and as the known efficacy of certain practices progress.

The guidance recommends travel businesses should adapt or establish a strategy designed to reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission. Depending on the business, that strategy could include operational changes, new employee practices or re-imagining high-traffic public spaces. Strategies should align with official guidance and build confidence to travellers that their health and safety is our top priority. 

For some businesses, these strategies will include practices such as: 

  • Reinforcing hand hygiene which can decrease the risk of transmission of respiratory viruses. 
  • Using personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.
  • Installing physical barriers, such as transparent screens to provide proper separation between customers and employees.
  • Encouraging physical distancing by posting new signage to ensure proper separation in lines and common areas, discouraging congregating in crowded areas, re-configuring public spaces, or limiting the number of employees and customers in various areas.

Travel businesses should adapt operations, modify employee practices and/or redesign public spaces to help protect employees. This could mean implementing touchless or low-touch solutions, along with pursuing technological and innovative practices to promote safe and enjoyable experiences. 

The guidance states that protecting customers requires heightened sanitation practices. To promote the health and safety of customers and employees, every segment of the travel industry should deploy enhanced sanitation procedures that include: 

  • Establish a policy implementing more frequent hand washing by all
  • employees. 
  • Sanitising more frequently with correct products and disinfectants. 
  • Providing hand sanitiser in public areas throughout facilities.
  • Modifying business hours when necessary to carry out thorough sanitation.
  • Disinfection procedures.

Travel businesses should adopt health screening procedures that require all employees: 

  • To monitor their health.
  • To not report to work if they are ill and/or showing any symptoms. 
  • To self-isolate if showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Travel businesses should offer appropriate resources to customers to enable them to monitor and screen their own health, including: 

  • Signage communicating COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Guidance to local public health resources in case testing or treatment is needed.
  • Materials describing good health practices to protect themselves and others. 
  • Communications encouraging travellers to stay home if they are sick and to postpone travel until they are well.

While other global and corporate protocols have taken a wider approach to health and safety, this is only focused on COVID-19 and the only one to make customers also responsible.

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