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Traveling with Your Family During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Dr. Stephanie Silvera Notes Some Risks

Posted in: College News and Events, Public Health

After a cooped-up winter at home, you might be itching to schedule that family trip to Disney World, Six Flags, or Kalahari Resort. After all, COVID-19 cases have finally started declining, and venues nationwide tout new-and-improved safety precautions. But is it actually safe to visit them parks or family entertainment venues right now?

Dr. Stephanie Silvera, Professor in the Public Health Department, notes some things to consider when traveling with your family during the coronavirus pandemic for Yahoo! Life. She stated, “I think that every family needs to consider their own risk, including risk of severe illness.” She added that families might not want to fly on an airplane, “where you will be in an enclosed space with others who may or may not be wearing their masks consistently or correctly. Driving could reduce risks, though with stops along the way, the risk will not be zero.”

Destinations such as outdoor theme parks might be the safest bet, as Dr. Silvera noted, “We know that outdoor spaces are lower risk than indoor spaces, particularly if people are wearing their masks and if spatial distancing is enforced.” Additionally, “choose to dine outdoors whenever possible to lower risk and keep hand sanitizer at the ready.” She adds that “most indoor theme parks do not, and are unable, to open windows, which we know helps to reduce the spread of aerosolized particles. Some indoor spaces have invested in ventilation systems that replace indoor air with outdoor air at a higher rate, but in these spaces, distancing and mask wearing becomes even more important.” Also, “Capacity does make a difference, and parents should ask indoor parks how many people are allowed in each day to help them determine their comfort level before booking.”

Water parks are also an option for families to visit, but are not conducive to wearing a mask while there. Dr. Silvera stated, “Indoor water parks are trickier because you are indoors without a mask with people you don’t live with and that is automatically a higher-risk environment.”

Dr. Silvera concludes, “My recommendation would be to opt for outdoor activities as much as possible, especially if you can travel to them safely. If you choose an indoor activity, try to avoid crowded spaces that don’t allow for mask wearing and spatial distancing.”