March 11, 2020 Updated Coronavirus Resources
Over the weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidance on travel, particularly regarding cruise ship travel, which now advises older adults and those with underlying health conditions to take particular precautions to protect themselves from coronavirus, such as avoiding long trips and deferring cruise ship travel worldwide. However, the CDC continues to reiterate that the virus is not widespread in the U.S. and the risk to the general American public does remain low. Though older travelers and adults with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk, per the CDC’s recommendation, there are no restrictions on travel anywhere in the U.S.
Last Wednesday, President Trump signed an emergency coronavirus funding bill that provides $8.3 billion to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of State, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies. The funding will be used for research and development of vaccines and other diagnostics, state and local preparedness and response, loans to small businesses affected by the outbreak and more.
On Monday, Italy’s prime minister extended the country’s emergency measures to combat the coronavirus, announcing that all residents should stay home and imposing severe limits on travel across the country. It is the first European country to take such measures, which are similar to those adopted in China shortly after the virus began to spread.
The CDC continues to recommend avoiding all nonessential travel (Level 3 warning) to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. This week, they added a Level 1 travel health notice for Hong Kong, recommending that travelers practice usual precautions if traveling to the city. For the latest travel alerts and warnings, visit the CDC webpage, Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel.
Travel Industry Updates
On Monday, March 9, U.S. Travel hosted a meeting with executives from other associations and leading travel industry organizations, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the International Franchise Association (IFA), to discuss ways to coordinate our messaging and work together to promote a calm, facts-driven approach to this outbreak. As a result of the meeting, nearly 150 travel organizations released a joint industry statement to the media emphasizing the importance of facts over fear—and encouraging Americans that it is safe to live, work, play and travel in the U.S.
Last Wednesday, March 4, U.S. Travel President & CEO Roger Dow and other travel and business leaders held a press conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dow and senior representatives of the airline, hotel and retail sectors joined U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue in encouraging Americans to not overreact to the spread of coronavirus but to take reasonable precautions while going about their lives.
Last Wednesday, March 4, U.S. Travel hosted a call to update the industry on the coronavirus situation from a holistic perspective, with speakers from multiple federal agencies, including Dr. Jay Butler from the CDC, Alyce Modesto from Customs and Border Protection, Brett Feddersen from the Federal Aviation Administration, David Short from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Adam Sacks from Tourism Economics. Sacks provided data the impact of coronavirus on the travel industry so far, along with Tourism Economics’ expectations for the rest of 2020. A recording of the call is available here.
Linked In Article by Roger Dow on Follow Facts Not Fear
State of Emergency – What you should know
Many states are declaring a State of Emergency to help combat the Coronavirus. But you should also know that many states are taking that step not because the number of cases or fatalities are so high, but rather to help them to contain and combat the virus with federal funds. This declaration also allows states to sidestep certain laws and regulations that stand in the way of speedier ways to contain and combat the virus. See this CNN article for a good explanation of why states are declaring a State of Emergency. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/10/politics/state-of-emergency-meaning-explained/index.html
I attended a Webinar sponsored by PCMA with Dr. Patel and the overwhelming message was that we should use science and facts to govern our reaction to the Corona Virus. The information shared on syta.org should in no way be considered medical advice and everyone should consult their own physician.
New Resources and Updated Tool Kits
- U.S. Travel’s Emergency Preparedness and Response: Coronavirus toolkit contains the latest information and resources from CDC and WHO, along with messaging guidance on how best to respond to this evolving issue. It was last updated on March 10, 2020.
- NEW: Coronavirus Social Media Guide
- NEW: Coronavirus PowerPoint Deck
- Media Holding Statement and Talking Points
- A Guide for Communicating Healthy Travel Practices
- Get the Facts: About COVID-19
- S. Travel’s Crisis Readiness Playbook
Around the Industry Articles and Resources
- Jeff Ment; Tips on How Travel Agents Can Confront the Coronavirus
- Carnival’s Health and Sailing Update gives extensive details on the steps Carnival is taking to keep its cruises safe for travelers
- NYC and Company: https://business.nycgo.com/coronavirus-information-and-resources/
- Destination DC statement
- If you are hosting a meeting or event, consider adding the Society of Independent Show Organizers’ This Show is Open for Business badge to your website or referencing Freeman’s Coronavirus in the Events Industry: Precaution or Panic? Resources
- Universal Studios and Resorts issues statement
- Disney has created a helpful FAQ page for its parks on coronavirus, as well as a detailed message from their chief medical officer
- Messages from the airlines to their loyalty customers quell concerns over sanitation and disinfection measures on board: American, Delta, Southwest
- Airlines for America has created a round-up of quotes from across the industry and beyond showing that “It’s Safe to Fly and America is Open for Business”
- What United Airlines is Doing To Keep Passengers Safe
- Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
- Coronavirus Employer Guidance from Insperity, SYTA’s HR Partner