Coronavirus + Travel: What You Need to Know
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
In light of the recent public health concerns related to COVID-19, or the coronavirus, Social Butterfly Express is committed to making sure that all of our clients are informed with accurate and up-to-date information, and we are proud to be a trusted liaison between clients and our suppliers. Thank you in advance for spending a few minutes reading through the latest travel updates from Social Butterfly Express.
Travel Updates: June 4th, 2020
As we begin to slowly emerge from quarantine, many people are looking forward to getting back to "business as usual". Not so fast! Here are the latest updates on travel during the coronavirus pandemic:
Passport Operations are still restricted, with expedited processing suspended and restricted issuance except in life-or-death cases. The Department plans to launch a 3-phase plan allowing passport agencies to resume operations gradually. You can learn more about the 3-phase plan, and check out Travel Department's latest release including FAQs at this link.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines have once again extended cancellations through at least July 31. Both cruise lines are working closely with the CDC on enhanced measures to protect the health, safety and security of guests, crews and the ports visited. We will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
If you have plans to travel internationally, remember that borders of all international destinations have different reopening dates and some might have a certain phase designated for international travelers to enter. Also, please note that NOT ALL Resorts are open. Each resort has their own social distancing rules set in place for guests. Most commonly, temperature screenings will be conducted when you arrive and depart your destinations. In ALL Public Areas and contact with staff a Mask MUST be worn. All Resorts have been required to go through very detailed training before they could reopen with certified status, so expect to see individual updates based on resort as they continue to make progress.
The TSA is currently rolling out a variety of new procedures meant to reduce contact, and risk of exposure, through airport security lines. These updates will be fully launched come mid-June, and are already popping up at many major airports. The top five changes include customers scanning their own boarding passes, separating food for x-ray screening, allowable hand sanitizer up to 12 oz (other rules regarding 3oz. of liquid still apply), required social distancing in security lines, and mandatory masks for TSA agents (with masks strongly encouraged for all travelers). You can learn more about the new TSA regulations here.
As always, if you have any questions about travel regulations, alerts, or changes due to COVID-19, please don't hesitate to reach out. Things are scary and uncertain right now, but you have an advocate in your corner through Social Butterfly Express. In the meantime, we are still planning travel for late 2020, 2021, and beyond! Book a consultation today and let's talk about how you can hit the road when this all blows over!
The information below was posted prior to the updates added on June 4th, 2020.
Travel Updates: April 28, 2020
Over the last few days, we've started to hear whispers from various states, including our home base in Ohio, on the gradual re-opening of commercial businesses. While we're still under a stay-at-home order and under a travel alert, travel hasn't been fully stopped during this pandemic. Here are the latest travel updates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines have extended cancellations through at least June 1 (extended from the original date of April 8). We will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Expedited passport services are currently suspended (emergency expedited processing will continue). Regular processing of new passports and renewals will run behind for an undetermined amount of time. Remember that in the best case scenario, passport processing can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks. If you have an international trip coming up late this year, or any time during 2021, we encourage you to start the passport process earlier than usual to leave plenty of time to have everything taken care of.
If Disney was on your 2020 travel list, consider moving your trip to 2021. While Disney has not announced a definitive re-opening date, they are currently accepting reservations and reschedules effective June 1. However, there is no guarantee of a re-open on that date. Disney is providing additional flexibility on change and cancellation fees, as well as extending expiration dates on unexpired and unused multi-day tickets. Find the most up to date information on Disney's website here.
Enforcement of the RealID rules set to go into effect on Oct 1st of this year have been postponed to Oct 1, 2021. The RealID rules require all travelers to have a compliant form of ID for all travel with uniform IDs across all states (you may have heard of the ID with the star on it, allowing you to travel). Learn more about the RealID on the Dept of Homeland Security's website.
The information below was posted prior to the updates added on April 28th, 2020.
Travel Updates: March 31, 2020
Effective March 31st, 2020, the United States is on a Level 3 Travel Notice: Widespread ongoing transmission without restrictions on entry to the United States
The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all global destinations. Find more information in the CDC's Global Pandemic Notice.
Effective Immediately CDC Issues Domestic Travel Advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut:
The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply. These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforceexternal icon) have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedule. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.
We will continue updating this post as new updates come available. In the meantime, check out the original post below:
Current Clients of SBE
All of the suppliers that have active partnerships with SBE have updated their refund and cancellation policies, and many of these suppliers have changed their final payment deadlines from 45 days to 15 days. If you have a pending trip, and have questions on changes or updates from your specific supplier, please contact me directly via email so I can help you find the information you need and reach out to suppliers on your behalf.
As of March 16th, 2020, travel plans through April 8, 2020 are experiencing the most impact. Whether you have booked your trip with SBE, or on your own, it is very important that you purchase travel insurance. Travel Insurance will help protect your investment during this uncertain time. (Please note that should you decide to cancel and file an insurance claim, it could take up to 90 days to receive your refund.) If you need to purchase travel insurance, I recommend you do so via Travel Guard-Travel Ins. Again, if you have questions regarding travel insurance, or need help navigating the claims process or conversations with your insurance provider, please feel free to reach out to me directly via email.
Plans to Cruise?
Royal Caribbean details can be found via Cruises Health and Travel Updates - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Carnival Cruise details can be found via Health and Sailing Update.
If You Do Decide to Travel
If you do decide to travel, be patient! Trump’s recent travel ban sparked confusion, and even a bit of chaos, as it relates to the rules and regulations surrounding the bans, leading to long lines at the airports and a spike in the cost of flights. For more information on the travel ban, check out this article from The New York Times.
The TSA is now allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces in carry-on bags until further notice. Passengers can expect that containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4oz will need to be screened separately, which can lead to longer lines and wait times at airport security checkpoints. As always, flammable, disinfectant sprays are prohibited in both checked and carry-on luggage. For a full list of allowable and prohibited items, check out the What Can I Bring tool on TSA’s website.
It is important to note that all those who have been to, or traveled through, China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, and/or Singapore in the last 20 days will not be permitted to travel. If this is you, you should look into postponing future travel plans ASAP, as travel clearance is not likely until after you’ve been cleared by a doctor.
Above All Else
Above all else, do what’s best for your comfort level. Things are changing and being re-evaluated on an almost daily basis. If you have travel plans later this summer, fall, or winter, my suggestion is to keep those plans. We will keep you updated as the situation evolves, and as always, you can reach out directly via email if you have any additional questions. And don’t forget: ALWAYS PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE!!!
Keep updated on the coronavirus’ impact on travel with the US Bureau of Consumer Affairs here.
We know this is a scary and uncertain time for everyone, and we are here for you. Use precaution, and keep yourself and your families safe. There is a light waiting for all of us at the end of this!!
Stay Healthy & Safe!
Founder, Social Butterfly Express
All upcoming events featuring Social Butterfly Express including Brides in the City and We Thee Wed's wedding expo are currently postponed. We will keep you updated as new information becomes available.