Health expert weighs in: Is it safe for families to travel during spring break?

Posted at 1:45 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 13:45:46-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — It is a custom for 'spring-breakers' to escape the routine of work and school every year during the month of March. This year, because of COVID-19, many families are considering the risk of leaving home and wondering if their getaway is worth the reward.

"As we're progressing through the pandemic, the number of cases are coming down. People certainly want to take advantage, kind of get away for a little bit, take advantage of spring break," says Robert Hawkes, Program Director of the Physician Assistant Program at Florida Gulf Coast University.

"I think people need to be aware of some of the regular precautions, but its going to be relatively pretty safe," says Hawkes.

Studies show that driving instead of flying is a better way to limit your exposure to coronavirus, but there is no significant data saying it is unsafe to fly.

"It really has shown that there is very limited exposure, as long as people are wearing their masks on a plane, for actually contracting COVID-19. So air travel does seem to be pretty safe," says Hawkes.

Hawkes says the biggest risk actually comes from the terminal as passengers gather while waiting to board the plane.

When arriving at your destination, Hawkes says families need to carefully consider where they choose to stay. Renting a vacation home on popular sites like VRBO and Airbnb is usually the more attractive option because they provide a larger space for families. Hawkes says the biggest issue with these homes is cleanliness. He says you never know how well a home was cleaned before you arrive, so a hotel is going to be your best bet.

"Certainly, if you're staying in one of the larger hotel chains, they're undergoing several precautions. They're certainly cleaning the rooms, they're taking extra precautions to make sure that all of their guests are safe," says Hawkes.

When returning home after the break, Hawkes says it's not necessary for you or your children to quarantine before jumping back into the routine of school and work as long as you are not showing symptoms or have knowingly come into contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19.