Guidance on safer travel during the pandemic

Everyone should stay close to home to avoid COVID-19. If you must travel, plan ahead.

The best way to not get yourself or your loved ones sick is to stay home. Organize virtual get-togethers if you can.

But you might find yourself needing to travel for an emergency. If you must travel, you can reduce your risk for getting or spreading COVID-19. 

Think about the risk of traveling

When you are around others, you increase your risk of getting COVID-19 and passing it on to your loved ones. The more people, the greater the risk.

Right now, the entire country is experiencing a major surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Know how widespread COVID-19 is in the area you are planning to visit. The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel. You can then spread the virus to others when you return.  See the CDC’s map of the number of cases in the last 7 days by state.

Consider the risk to yourself, the people you live with, and the people you will see. Older adults and people with certain health conditions are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The safest way to see them is to talk on the phone or online.

Reconsider your trip if you are traveling with someone who cannot wear a face covering consistently. This includes children under 2. They should not be wearing  face masks since they might suffocate.

If you feel sick, stay home and do not travel. You can get tested for COVID-19 at various locations in SF. Wait for a negative result before you leave.

Plan for COVID-19 safety if you must travel

Find out where you can get tested for COVID-19 at your destination. 

Always wear a face covering and stay 6 feet away from people you don’t live with. This may include relatives.

Limit the number of people you interact with. If you are traveling to see family, avoid meeting neighbors or friends 2 weeks before you leave

Do not share vehicles with people you don’t live with. If you must share a vehicle:

  • Try to ride with the same people every time
  • Open windows 
  • Maximize air coming in from outside
  • Have everyone wear a face covering

Avoid indoor activities. Outdoor activities are much safer.

If you’re outside, you should still stay 6 feet apart and wear face coverings if you’re around people you don’t live with. 

Seeing people outdoors is much safer than indoors. The virus can build up inside, with more people talking and breathing.

If you must visit people indoors, you must always wear a face covering. It is safer to keep your face covering on as much as possible.

Make sure you’re in a room with open windows or good ventilation.

After you return to the Bay Area

Quarantine for 10 days

Stay home and quarantine once you return to the Bay Area. 

You do not need to quarantine if you came to do an essential activity, like doing essential work, getting needed healthcare, or caring for someone. 

Read more about the travel quarantine.

See if you develop new symptoms

Get tested for COVID-19 if:

  • You have a fever over 100.4° Fahrenheit or 38.0° Celsius
  • You’re shivering a lot
  • You have a cough
  • It’s hard to breathe
  • You feel tired or sore
  • You can’t smell or taste anything
  • Your throat hurts
  • Your head hurts
  • You have a runny or stuffy nose
  • You have diarrhea, feel sick to your stomach, or are throwing up

Children under 18 do not need to get tested if they have a stuffy nose, soreness, or feel tired.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must follow isolation instructions.

If someone you met tests positive for COVID-19

You must quarantine for 14 days if you spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of that person over the course of a day.

Last updated December 17, 2020