Rumours began to leak out of China about a strange illness inflicting citizens in the City of Wuhan in January. Word soon got out that a virus known as “SARS-CoV-2” was causing a disease named “coronavirus disease 2019.”
In the few weeks since it was 1st discovered, coronavirus has infected more than 125,000 people around the world, and on 11 March was declared a global pandemic by The World Health Organization (WHO).
The headline news has caused panic among travelers wondering if it’s still safe to go out and about their business. As medical scientists are not sure who is at risk, how the virus spreads, and how to treat it.
In the luxury travel industry, it comes down to being prepared.
From private aviation companies to luxury hotels, companies are implementing best practices to make their current and future guests feel as comfortable as possible at this time.
Below is how the luxury travel industry is planning and coping with the spread of the coronavirus, as follows:
Flying private can afford people some leeway when it comes to typical travel, but it cannot break the law. For companies like NetJets that means complying with the US State Department’s travel restrictions to areas impacted by COVID-19.
“A cross-functional team of specialists meets daily to review the latest data released by the federal government, as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Federal Aviation Administration,” the company shared in a statement. “We will continue to align with these organizations regarding restrictions and access to impacted areas.”
NetJets notes, that it put a protocol in place to immediately remove any aircraft from service should it be exposed to anyone known or suspected to have the coronavirus.
Private aviation allows customers to mitigate some risk and believe aviation could serve people who absolutely have to continue their travels.
A key benefit of using private aviation during situations like this coronavirus outbreak is the ability for customers to fill the void of suspended commercial flights, keeping up with essential travel.
Luxury hotels, many of which cater to business travelers, are taking precautions and implementing new guidelines and practices to keep their staff and customers as safe as possible too. That’s especially the case for hotels located in particularly hard-hit areas, like Milan and Rome.
The Italian government has announced extraordinary measures to contain the coronavirus. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared the entire country a ‘red zone,’ meaning people should stay home except for work and emergencies.
Luxury hotels are following government recommendations regarding precautions and are taking all possible steps to help keep guests and staff safe, including increasing the frequency of cleaning of all “high-touch” areas, which are being treated with advanced cleaning products and additional disinfectant. That includes extra cleanings of staff entrances, lockers, the laundry, and offices.
Across the world in California, hotels have implemented their own crisis management plans. Like a “significant effort at sanitizing,” as well as an increased on-property communication plan, and even new auto-hand-sanitizer stations in guest rooms.
Now, only necessary travel is advised, but you should be prepared to if you have decided not to cancel your travel plans. Meaning, staying on Top of the latest travel news, including the State Department’s travel warnings, which state that everyone should reconsider both personal and business travel anywhere in the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests asking yourself a few Big Q’s before traveling domestically and internationally, including: Is COVID-19 spreading where you are going? Will you or your travel companion/s be in close contact with others during your trip? Are you or your travel companion/s at a higher risk of severe illness if you do get COVID-19? And, do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19?
Beyond this stuff, it comes down to avoiding the dangers of coronavirus by washing hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and staying home if feeling ill. This way, you can remain healthy to take as many trips as you want in the future.
If you are overseas and find yourself stuck in a country that is not your own stay calm. Then, find out the facts.
President Trump implemented a travel ban, which bars most foreign nationals from entering the United States from the continent of Europe for 30 days.
But, the ban only includes nations in the Schengen area, the 26 nations that are part of the EU’s borderless zone.
This excludes visitors from the UK, Ireland, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, as well as US citizens, US residents, and relatives of US citizens, and some others.
More information on traveling home from different coronavirus hot zones can be found on the CDC’s website.
There are also exemptions for flight crews and those working for the UN. So, if you are abroad and fit into these categories you can get home with a bit of effort.
Americans will come through 11 different airports on return: Atlanta; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Newark, New Jersey; Honolulu; Kennedy Airport in New York; Los Angeles International; Chicago O’Hare; Seattle; San Francisco; and Dulles International.
Lufthansa will continue flying to Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C., from Frankfurt, Zurich, Vienna, and Brussels to maintain some air traffic connections to the USA, Norwegian Air will only operate flights from London.
When you do get home, expect to spend some time alone. The CDC recommends people returning from an international trip go on a self-quarantine for up to 14 days. During this frame, travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others.
And remember, we are all in it together. So reschedule if possible, and if you must travel, do so with care and kindness to all the folks around you.
Have a healthy day, stay home!
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