Arkansas health officials advise against spring break travel amid COVID pandemic

The CDC is still encouraging people to not travel unless absolutely necessary, especially if where you are going you cannot easily social distance.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Travel agents are starting to see more people booking trips with spring break just around the corner.

“People are desperate to get out of town,” Margaret Kemp said.

Kemp is a travel agent and the CEO of Poe Travel. Business has started picking up about 15 percent with spring break in just a couple of weeks. Most families are booking vacations domestically. 

“Key West, a little bit of Charleston,” Kemp said. “We’ve got a lot of people going to Vail and Steamboat Springs to ski.”

She is working with them to find destinations where it’s easy to social distance.

“More beachfront cottages or houses. So, you’re on the beach, you got your pod together and you’ve got space,” Kemp said.

The CDC is still encouraging people to not travel unless absolutely necessary, especially if where you are going you cannot easily social distance.

“I would encourage people to delay their travel if they find the place they are traveling to has an increased spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said.

But if you don’t want to cancel your trip, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health recommends getting tested before you go and after you come back. You should test at least three days before you go.

“Get tested 3 to 5 days after their return, if that test is negative, they would stay in quarantine for 7 days,” she said.

Even if you are vaccinated, Dr. Dillaha recommends waiting since the virus is still spreading and not enough people have received the vaccine.

“Five to 6 percent of the people who have been fully vaccinated are likely to be vulnerable to get mild disease and spreading it to others. We would like people to take that in consideration,” Dr. Dillaha said.

Kemp is starting to see more older, vaccinated clients booking trips further out.

“We’ve already done a lot of summer travel because within those people that have been vaccinated, they’re taking their children and grandchildren,” Kemp said.

Dr. Dillaha also cautions against any international travel. If you travel outside the U.S., you will be required to take a negative test before coming back in. Some states also have specific requirements, so pay attention before you leave.