CDC Warns Americans Against Travel to Canada, Even if They’re Vaccinated


Right now, Canada is in the throes of a third COVID-19 wave and is reportedly on track to outpace the U.S. in terms of its rate of new infections relative to the overall population. Worse yet, the country is seeing significant outbreaks of dangerous coronavirus strains that are more transmissible than the original virus and potentially even vaccine-resistant.

The trend is so worrisome that U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated Canada’s travel advisory (a Level Four—the highest possible risk category) to include a warning that even fully vaccinated Americans should not risk venturing north of the U.S. border. The change was made on the same day that the CDC released new travel guidelines for vaccinated Americans in which the agency said that those who are fully vaccinated can safely move about the country.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“Because of the current situation in Canada, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Canada,” the website now reads. “If you must travel to Canada, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands.”

For a full year now, the Great White North has kept its case counts comparatively low while the health crisis in the U.S. continued to escalate. So, what happened?

Firstly, the pandemic situation in America is finally improving, thanks to a massive nationwide vaccination campaign and the government’s having secured an ample supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, while our northern neighbor’s vaccination efforts have trailed behind those of many other nations.

The U.S. has thus far managed to get roughly 19 percent of its population fully vaccinated, while Canada can say the same of only about two percent of its population. The National Post reported that, as of April 6, roughly one-third of Americans had received at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while only 16 percent of Canadians had gotten at least one dose.

Young woman getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Young woman getting vaccinated against COVID-19. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/Geber86)

Johns Hopkins University’s dataset this week revealed that the U.S. was seeing about 196 new COVID-19 cases per one million people per day, while in Canada about 180 new cases per million people were being added daily (based on a seven-day rolling average). Noel Gibney, a professor emeritus in the faculty of medicine at the University of Alberta, said that it’s almost certain that Canada will surpass the U.S. in terms of community spread in the next few days.

The infiltration of more contagious, and possibly even more deadly, viral variants is being blamed for causing Canada’s third COVID-19 wave. According to a Vice report, Canada is one of the world’s only countries to be battling significant outbreaks of three different variants at the same time.

In Alberta, experts believe that the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant has almost entirely replaced the original COVID-19 strain. The P1 variant that emerged in Brazil—which has reinfected people who have previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and may be vaccine-resistant—is also spreading in Canada, as is the B1351 variant that first came from South Africa.

Just as Americans are being warned to stay away, Canada’s health officials are also beseeching Canadians to avoid nonessential travel within the country; although experts are saying that tighter travel restrictions may not be enough at this point to contain the spread of the highly transmissible variants.

Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, remarked on the variants’ prevalence within Ontario, “It’s incredibly widespread, so I think there’s merit in restricting movement between areas…But as a way to control the spread of variants? That ship has likely already sailed.”





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Research Shows Americans Cautious but Ready To Travel


Americans are ready to travel again, but despite viral images of maskless travelers, research shows they are more likely to engage and visit places with clear COVID-19 safety protocols.

The latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers found that 88 percent have travel plans in the next six months. That is the highest level in more than a year.

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The research also found that less than one-third of travelers are inclined to visit a tourism attraction or a business that does not have clear COVID safety protocols such as mask requirements and social distancing.

“It’s obvious from the data that Americans are ready to travel again but only if they believe they can do safely,” said Amir Eylon, president and CEO of Longwoods International. “With many states reducing or removing coronavirus safety mandates, tourism businesses will need to figure out what level of safety precautions their customers expect or demand.”

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The Longwoods study, which was supported by Miles Partnership, also shows that Americans are still shying away from longer journeys in favor of road trips. Domestic and drive destinations are favored over international and fly-to locations.

They are also still more inclined to plan farther out. There is an increase in trips being planned more than six months out when compared with travel planning in the past month.

Only 13 percent of Americans said that they didn’t have any upcoming travel plans. Eighteen percent are traveling within the next month. Nineteen percent are taking a trip in the next one to two months, and 27 percent within the next three to five months. Twenty-three percent said they have travel planned in six months or more.

COVID-19 is still the greatest impact on whether Americans are traveling or not and how they are traveling. Thirty-three percent said the virus was greatly impacting their decisions. Just 17 percent said their decisions were greatly impacted by finances.

Thirty-two percent of American travelers said that they were choosing a drive destination rather than flying, and 31 percent said that they were traveling within the U.S. rather than internationally due to the coronavirus. Fifteen percent are traveling to rural destinations rather than cities. Only 12 percent are deciding not to travel at all due to the virus, and 10 percent said they are canceling trips.

An increasing number of Americans said that they feel safe traveling outside their community (58 percent).

Many travelers are waiting to be vaccinated before they travel (34 percent), and 20 percent are waiting until a majority of Americans are vaccinated. Thirty-nine percent said that the vaccine has no impact on their travel plans.





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InsureMyTrip Issues Response to New CDC Travel Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Americans


“With more vaccinated Americans looking to travel again, we are doing everything we can to ensure travelers have the right travel insurance,” says Cheryl Golden, vice president of ecommerce for InsureMyTrip.

Travel Insurance for Fully Vaccinated

InsureMyTrip recommends that fully vaccinated Americans buy travel insurance that includes a cancel for any reason upgrade — for both domestic and international trips.

“We understand that fully vaccinated people are excited about the possibility to reunite with family members and fly again,” says Golden. “We also realize that travel guidance — both in the US and abroad — is subject to change. Due to this uncertainty, we expect would-be travelers to be more inclined to seek maximum trip cancellation coverage. This way, they will be better prepared for the unexpected.”

The cancel-for-any-reason upgrade offers the most trip cancellation flexibility. Full terms of coverage will be listed in state-specific policy. If eligibility requirements are met, reimbursement is typically up to 50-75 percent of the pre-paid non-refundable trip cost. (Note: coverages are governed by the specific plan certificate.)

Monitor Changing Guidelines

Travelers should review the latest guidelines for their intended destination prior to booking a trip. State, local, and territorial governments may have other travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements upon arrival (Source: CDC.gov).

If traveling internationally, check with your destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health for up-to-date entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers.

MORE: Check COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination

Travel Insurance Expert:
Meghan Walch
401-773-9210
[email protected] 

Travel Insurance & Data Expert:
Cheryl Golden
401-773-9210
[email protected] 

Note: Traditional travel insurance does not offer cancellation coverage for fear of travel, whether related to COVID-19 or not. Cancel For Any Reason is required.

About InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. We are committed to empowering travelers to make the best possible insurance decisions by leveraging our technology, data intelligence, and expertise. InsureMyTrip is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.

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Americans Spent 176 Hours Scrolling Social Media For Travel Inspiration This Year, Data Reveals


The survey, which polled 2,000 U.S. adults, found that one in four (24%) respondents have been scrolling for travel inspiration this past year as an outlet for their pent-up desire to travel. Of those who have been scrolling through social media, three-fourths (76%) said it has made them want to travel more, and almost two-thirds (63%) said it has helped them remain happy over the course of the last unprecedented year.

“We are starting to see a great deal of enthusiasm for returning to travel, and as the survey results demonstrate, travelers have been dreaming about and planning for that day for some time, no doubt a welcome distraction throughout the health crisis,” said Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality. “When travelers are ready to hit the road again, we’re here to help them do so safely. We want our guests to know that we will continue to ‘leave the light on’ for those in need of a clean, comfortable and affordable place to stay as they prepare for travel during these unprecedented times.”

What travelers need to feel safe
Three-quarters (76%) of Americans weren’t able to travel as much as they had hoped during 2020 and it’s been almost seven months since the average respondent last traveled for fun. On top of that, and 55% of respondents said they’re waiting to travel until after they have personally received the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, 7 in 10 (69%) have travel plans for 2021 and the respondents who feel safe traveling in 2021 are most likely to travel by car (54%), leading to more than half (56%) of Americans saying they’re more likely to take a road trip in 2021 than in previous years.

Three in five (58%) respondents stated that they’re worried about staying with family or friends due to the ongoing health crisis, therefore half (49%) of respondents are more likely to stay at a hotel if traveling this year. Requirements to wear masks in public areas (45%), knowing about enhanced cleaning services (38%) and capacity limitations (37%) are the top things that would make respondents feel safer when staying at a hotel or motel this year.

“In the early days of the crisis, we launched [email protected], an initiative aimed at enhancing cleaning and sanitation, physical, and social distancing and safe behavioral practices for everyone,” said Palleschi. “Travel looks different now, so we continue to evolve and are doing everything we can to help travelers feel safe and confident the next time they walk through our doors.”

Motel 6 will leave the light on for those traveling safely this year, with reservations available at motel6.com. Motel 6 remains committed to following the guidelines of the CDC and to doing its part in maintaining safe and clean hotels for its valued guests. Learn more about the brand’s [email protected] program here.

About the Motel 6 Travel Survey 
The travel survey was commissioned by Motel 6 through SWNS Media Group, who conducted an online survey among n = 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ (nationally representative sample). The survey was conducted on Feb. 25–March 4, 2021 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage at a 95 percent confidence level.

About Motel 6
Motel 6 helps travelers save more for what they travel for with nearly 1,400 company owned and franchised locations throughout the United States and Canada. Motel 6 has used the tagline, “We’ll leave the light on for you®” for more than 30 years, earning the chain the highest brand recognition in the economy lodging segment. Motel 6 offers standard amenities including free Wi-Fi Internet access, free local calls, no long-distance access charges and expanded cable channel line-up. Most locations offer guest laundry facilities. For more information, visit www.motel6.com.

Media Contact:

MaryClaire Cieply

(812) 929-0429

[email protected]

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Millions of Americans return to air travel as vaccines and spring break fever kick in


Thirteen months into a pandemic that brought air travel to a near standstill, Americans are starting to take to the skies in substantial numbers again.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has screened record numbers of travelers at airports across the country during the roughly two-week period in March that marks many Americans’ spring breaks.

For 17 days in a row now, the TSA has screened more than 1 million people U.S. airports, marking a significant milestone for the industry. 

“That’s significant because it hasn’t happened at any point, even during the holidays, during the past year,” CBS News travel correspondent Errol Barnett told CBSN. 

It’s too early to say travel is back. After all, TSA’s screening numbers still pale in comparison to pre-pandemic passenger levels. 

“It’d be premature to suggest that travel in the U.S. is surging,” Barnett said. 

For example, on Saturday, 1.4 million American passed through airport checkpoints, compared to 2 million passengers on the same date in 2019, before COVID-19 ravaged the airline industry. 

Air travel volume remains at about 66% of pre-pandemic levels. 

“There’s a long way to go, but more people are being vaccinated and spring break of course has been a massive draw for people,” Barnett said. “So we are seeing numbers creep up over the past 2 to 3 weeks.”

The uptick in fliers comes despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that even vaccinated Americans postpone all travel plans until more is known about how effective vaccines are against new COVID-19 variants — and whether vaccinated individuals can spread the disease. 



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More Americans starting to travel again


More Americans starting to travel again – CBS News


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As the pandemic nears its 13th month, more Americans are starting to fly again. The Transportation Security Administration has screened more than one million travelers per day for more than two weeks in a row. CBS News transportation correspondent Errol Barnett joins “CBSN AM” with more on what’s going on in the world of travel.

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Here comes $3 gas, just as Americans start traveling again


Travel-starved Americans emerging from lockdown may need to budget for $3-a-gallon gasoline on their next road trip.

Prices at the pump are on the rise, driven higher by oil prices hitting $60 per barrel, a surge of economic optimism, restraint from US frackers and unprecedented production cuts by OPEC and Russia. The energy rally has been further boosted by predictions on Wall Street of a new oil “supercycle.”

The national average price of gasoline has climbed 47 straight days to nearly $2.89 per gallon, according to AAA. US drivers haven’t experienced a $3 average price per gallon since 2014, though it came close in 2018 and 2019.

“$3 gas will be the norm by Memorial Day,” said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities. “We’ve been trapped inside for a year. People want to get out of the house.”

Some states are already dealing with $3 gas, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California.

The pain at the pump could cause political problems for the White House. President Joe Biden took swift action this winter to respond to the climate crisis by cracking down on the fossil fuels industry.

That has led some critics to try to pin the “blame” for higher gas prices on Biden — even though energy industry insiders say the increase really is not about federal policy.

“Make no mistake, prices would have gone up no matter who was in the White House,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “This is more about economic recovery.”

Goldman Sachs: $80 crude is coming this summer

After getting crushed by Covid in 2020, the oil market has been one of the biggest winners of the reopening surge on Wall Street. US crude hit a pandemic high of $66.09 a barrel on March 5, an incredible rebound from the April 2020 low of negative $37 a barrel.

OPEC and Russia gave the oil rally a turbo boost earlier this month, shocking the market with a decision to extend their dramatic production cuts for at least another month.

The V-shaped recovery in the oil sector did run into trouble last week. US crude tumbled 6% to $61.42 a barrel on worries over the rocky rollout of vaccines in Europe.

But Goldman Sachs is predicting the oil rally will return as demand accelerates. The investment bank expects Brent crude, the world benchmark, to rise from just $65 today to $80 by the summer.

“We view the recent sell-off as a transient pullback in an otherwise large oil price rally and a buying opportunity,” Damien Courvalin, Goldman’s head of energy research, wrote in a report to clients last week.

Rising demand, subdued supply

De Haan is taken aback by how quickly gasoline demand is returning to levels last seen just before the pandemic erupted. Based on GasBuddy data on gasoline purchases, weekly US demand during the week ending March 20 stood roughly 1% above the week ending March 14, 2020.

Searches for driving directions in the United States have also recovered above January 2020 levels, according to mobility trends published by Apple. By contrast, similar searches in Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy remain well below January 2020 levels.

“There is a little more cabin fever this spring,” De Haan said. “The overwhelming odds are that we will at some point see the national average touch the $3 mark.”

Beyond the desire to take road trips, the energy market is being helped by subdued US supply. The pandemic dealt a crushing blow to the US oil boom, with frackers drastically cutting production to stay alive.

Even with US crude above $60 a barrel, the nation is only producing about 10.9 million barrels of oil per day, according to estimates from the federal government. That’s down by a staggering 2.2 million daily barrels from the same period in 2020.

Of course, that also means US producers have the ability to pump a lot more if prices get too high.

The Keystone Pipeline debate

Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, doesn’t think the national average will hit $3 a gallon this year because of high unemployment, remote work and reduced travel to major sporting and entertainment events.

Regardless, higher gas prices will feed the narrative that Biden’s energy policies will hit US consumers in the wallet. On the campaign trail, Biden had to repeatedly deny claims from his opponent that he would ban fracking.

But Biden did move quickly to address the climate crisis. On his first day in office, he rescinded the Keystone XL Pipeline, placed a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic and moved to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In late January, Biden also imposed a 60-day suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal lands unless the Interior Department’s leaders approve them. Critically, that policy only applied to new leases and permits, not existing ones. Much to the dismay of climate activists, the Interior Department said earlier this month that the 60-day suspension will not be renewed.

Still, energy analysts rejected the notion that Biden’s tough stance on fossil fuels is lifting gasoline prices, at least so far.

“Some blame is being laid on Biden and the Keystone Pipeline but that has absolutely nothing to do with the price of crude or gasoline this year,” Kloza said.

$4 gas could speed up the EV boom

Of course, if Biden does take action to severely constrain US production, that could eventually lead to higher oil prices down the line.

Prices are probably not at the level yet where they would eat into demand by causing drivers to cancel road trips. And it’s not clear what that tipping point would be given the excitement about reopening after the pandemic.

“$3 gas isn’t going to scare anyone away,” said De Haan. “People are not going to hold back this summer. They are finally starting to feel better.”

Bigger picture, the oil industry doesn’t want to see prices spike too high because that would only accelerate the shift to electric vehicles.

“You don’t want to go there,” said Mizuho’s Yawger. “You will kill the golden goose.”



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With travel surging, the CDC is urging Americans to stay close to home for spring break


More than 1.5 million travelers passed through TSA checkpoints across the US Sunday, the highest number of airline passengers clearing security since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

Many of those flying are headed to spring break destinations.

Microbiologist Dr. Amber Schmidtke, Ph.D., who writes a newsletter tracking the pandemic in Georgia, says she understands the hunger for travel.

“There’s a reason why the ‘Roaring 20’s’ followed the 1918 pandemic,” Schmidtke says.  “We’re starting to see sort of that pent-up desire for human contact and fun after a really difficult year. But, I think that we’re not there yet.”

While the US is averaging 2.5 million vaccinations a day, and has even topped the 3 million shot mark several times, the country continues to average over 53,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, according to the CDC.

In regions like the Midwest and Northeast, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, says case numbers are once again rising.

“We must act now, and I am worried, if we don’t take the right actions now, we will have another avoidable surge just as we are seeing in Europe right now, and just as we are so aggressively scaling up vaccinations,” Dr. Walensky says.

US health officials are pushing hard to vaccinate enough Americans to slow the spread of concerning new strains of the coronavirus, that are more contagious, and, in some cases, more deadly. 

Walensky is concerned says travel could fuel the spread of these new strains.

“We are worried not just about what happens when you are on the airplane itself, but what happens when people travel,” she says.  “That is, they go out, they mix, they mix with people who are not vaccinated.”

If you choose travel over spring break, Schmidtke says, wear a mask, keep your distance from other travelers and stay away from crowds, and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

If you think you might have been exposed to the virus, she says, get tested anywhere from 4 to 7 days after you return.

“Because, if we do have a situation where you brought something back, we want to know about that sooner than later, so that you can isolate and keep that problem small,” Schmidtke says.

If possible, she says, stay home until you get your test results.

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