4 News Now Q&A: How will the omicron variant affect your holiday travel?

Q: How will the omicron variant affect your holiday travel? 

The rapid speed of the omicron variant could not come at a worse time, just weeks before millions of people are expected to travel for the holidays. But even if you are not traveling to a country where the variant has been detected, many people are worried their destination could be next, and if they will be able to return home easily. 

A: Before you book your trip, you will want to make sure you are up to date on the travel restrictions in place at your destination. Some places may require you to quarantine once you’re there, and others may ask for proof of a negative COVID test.

As for your return home, you will definitely need a negative COVID test taken just one day before boarding your flight – regardless of your vaccination status. This new requirement starts Monday.

The CDC is also ramping up COVID testing at major airports in the United States. The agency is offering free rapid tests to international travelers in Los Angeles, New York, Newark and San Francisco.

Once your travel plans are made official, the Washington Department of Health shared three tips to keep you and your family safe on your trip:

  • Everyone five and older should get vaccinated as soon as possible
  • Wear a mask wherever you are going
  • Get a COVID test three to five days after you arrive at your destination and three to five days after you get back home

“The way we stop the spread and slow the spread is the same – whether it’s delta or omicron or something else in the future,” Lacy Fehrenbach with the Department of Health said. “Anyone who is going to travel for the holidays or work or otherwise should really embrace testing as a layered mitigation measure that helps keep our community safe.”

As for mask wearing, President Biden has extended his transportation mask mandate through March.

The mandate requires travelers to wear masks on airplanes, buses, trains and boats, and in airports and other transportation hubs.

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As more data is released about omicron, we want to make sure you are up to date with the latest information. Have questions? Submit them HERE