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California Doesn't Have Covid-19 Travel Restrictions. But Here's How to Protect Yourself

2020-08-07 15:45:33
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Good morning. Like many other U.S. states, California currently has no travel restrictions in place. That leaves a lot of travelers wondering about what precautions they should take after returning from a trip.

The question came to us from Abel Cruz, a reader in El Paso, who asked: “If I drive to California from Texas, will I have to quarantine once I get there?”

Mr. Cruz wants to visit family members in San Diego and the Victor Valley. “I have been thinking of driving out to California but am not sure whether I should plan to quarantine once I get there, before I see family,” he said.

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While California does not have restrictions in place, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged people coming to the state to act responsibly. “The key is when you do come into the state, that you abide by all the rules and regulations that our health officers have put forth,” he said during a briefing on Monday.

When in doubt, quarantine. Although not required in California, it’s always safer to quarantine yourself if you can’t get tested. This is to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others. You can shorten your time in isolation, however, if you get a negative test.

And as always, if you begin to show flulike symptoms, “assume that you are infected and seek repeat testing while you continue to self-isolate,” Dr. Noble said.

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Wipe down high-touch surfaces. Traveling by car is generally safer because your car can be easily wiped down and sterilized. Dr. Noble recommends that people sanitize their hands and wipe down their steering wheel with disinfectants every time they get into the car.

It’s best to travel with an ample supply of hand sanitizer and bleach or hydrogen peroxide wipes, Dr. Noble said.

If you have to stay overnight in a hotel, wipe down all high-touch surfaces, like doorknobs, faucets and phones, when you arrive.

Wear a mask and social distance. Face masks are one of the best protections we have against Covid-19, Dr. Noble said, so make sure you pack enough to last. Wear masks in public places, like hotel lobbies or food establishments. If you are in a setting where people are not wearing masks or practicing safe distancing, Dr. Noble recommends that you leave that place immediately.

Pay attention to local regulations. California residents visiting other states should check the specific restrictions at their destination before leaving. Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut require visitors from California to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival.

Visitors to California should abide by California’s safe and responsible travel code and follow all public health rules, including a statewide mandate to wear a mask in public places.

Have a question about how the pandemic is changing daily life in California? Click here to submit.


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Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.


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