The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that individuals should stay home to protect themselves and others from contracting or spreading COVID-19. Most importantly, do not travel if you are sick, or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days and do not travel with someone who is sick. In critical circumstances where one must travel for personal or business, it is important to take appropriate risk control precautions.
As always, follow any directives from the CDC and local or state guidance in regards to state openings, quarantine requirements and important travel updates to protect yourself and others. The CDC developed this Travel: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers web page to answer common questions about travel.
These best practices highlight ways to exercise hygiene and cleaning as you travel during a pandemic:
Ensure Travel Aligns with Company Policies:
Check your company’s policy on work and personal travel before booking a trip. Ensure you have proper pre-trip approvals and risk authorizations for essential or non-essential trips.
Have Cleaning Supplies on Hand:
Have cleaning supplies such as Lysol® Disinfectant Spray or Clorox® wipes. Not all travel wipes and cleaners kill viruses, so read the labels and pick a product that does the job. (Note: if you buy something strong or hospital-grade, containing bleach, you might also need to bring gloves and a mask to keep yourself safe.)
Wash Your Hands:
Frequent hand washing has been proven to reduce the transfer of colds and viruses and will prevent bacteria transferring from whatever you’re touching to your mouth, eyes, or nose. So even if your hotel room is poorly sanitized, washing your hands will help keep the germs at bay. Once you’re done cleaning all the items on this list, wash your hands again.
Airports and Airplanes:
Use travel wipes to clean hard surfaces before you sit on or touch them. Wash your hands or use an approved alcohol-based hand cleaner before you eat. Wipe down areas of your luggage you handle, others handle or following being stored in an overhead compartment.
Decorative Pillows and Bedspread:
Not all hotels wash heavy bedspreads after each guest. The frequency of laundering varies from hotel to hotel. You can call your hotel and ask how often the staff washes the bedspreads or you can bring your own blanket and remove the hotel’s altogether.
Frequently touched surfaces should be wiped with antibacterial wipes. Key places to spray for germs include the phone, door knobs, toilet handle, ice bucket, remote control and bathroom faucet handles.
Clean all Hard Surfaces:
Wipe down hard surfaces, such as the night table, coffee table, desk and shelves. You don’t need to do them all but prioritize surfaces where you will set down things that will go near your face or in your mouth. (Think shelves that house glassware or nightstands where you put your glasses.)
Wipe Down Bathroom Surfaces:
Bathrooms can carry a lot of germs, so spray or wipe down all hard surfaces, including the toilet seat and lid.
Wipe Down all Door Handles and Light Switches:
These high-touch areas are used by everyone in your room, as well as housekeeping and anyone else visiting your room. Give them a good wipe down on day one and as often as needed.
There is no guarantee that the room glasses and mugs aren’t simply rinsed off under the tap or even wiped down with the same sponge that’s used to clean other parts of the room. The best way to deal with this is to run your cup under hot water for a minute or two before using it; this will kill most bacteria or you can pack a travel mug from home.
Bag the Remote:
It’s common knowledge that one of the germiest items in a hotel room is the remote control – touched by many and with lots of crevices that can’t be effectively wiped down. Pick it up with a tissue or gloves, put it in a plastic bag and zip it shut. You can still operate the remote, but never have to touch its surface.
Hotel Cleaning Policy:
Call the hotel prior to your visit to find out what their cleaning policy is and how frequently they clean.
Avoid Traveling When Sick
If you become ill before a trip, cancel, reschedule or conduct the meeting virtually if at all possible. Follow any company guidelines or policies about traveling while sick. The company you are visiting may also have policies that bar individuals with cold or flu symptoms from entering the building, so proactively communicate internally and externally.
Find additional travel advice, recommendations and restrictions on the CDC’s website. The CDC also offers a robust symptom checker to help you make decisions.
Please be advised that any and all information, comments, analysis, and/or recommendations set forth above relative to the possible impact of COVID-19 on potential insurance coverage or other policy implications are intended solely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal or medical advice. As an insurance broker, we have no authority to make coverage decisions as that ability rests solely with the issuing carrier. Therefore, all claims should be submitted to the carrier for evaluation. The positions expressed herein are opinions only and are not to be construed as any form of guarantee or warranty. Finally, given the extremely dynamic and rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, comments above do not take into account any applicable pending or future legislation introduced with the intent to override, alter or amend current policy language.
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