Before you book a stay, research appropriate safety precautions

Traveling anywhere, even to a local hotel, poses a risk to your safety and the health of your loved ones.

Traveling anywhere, even to a local hotel, poses a risk to your safety and the health of your loved ones. Dr. Nasia Safdar, the medical director of Infection Control at UW Hospitals and Clinics and a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor, says that traveling will always carry more risk than staying in your own home.

Safdar’s specialty is in infectious diseases, and she describes “a spectrum of risk” in traveling for a staycation. She doubts she would take a trip herself. “I guess if it was a small hotel where I was very comfortable with their policies and procedures, I might consider it. But I don’t feel very enthusiastic about the idea.”

Safdar advises guests to take a serious look at a hotel’s policies — like ensuring they minimize contact at check-in and reviewing cleaning procedures. Guests should also explore how hotels are screening for sick people to ensure that a hotel isn’t checking in people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Wearing a mask is critical to protecting yourself and others during a stay, Safdar says. Masks should be worn properly to cover the nose and mouth and should not be removed when speaking or doing anything else. Frequently washing and sanitizing your hands is a good step to protect yourself against pathogens.

One of the best things guests can do is avoid face-to-face contact and activities — like eating indoors, stepping onto an elevator or going to a hotel pool — with others in enclosed spaces. The risk of contracting the coronavirus is heightened in the colder months, Safdar says, furthering her concern. She says the risk is higher because people tend to congregate together and face-to-face transmission is easier when close together.

If you’re considering a stay, keep these recommendations in mind and also look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization for up-to-date information and recommendations for staying healthy.

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