COVID-19: Travel

As of May 13, 2021
The CDC’s travel guidance for mask wearing remains unchanged. Mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status, continues to be an important COVID-19 mitigation strategy in public transportation into, within, or out of the United States.

 

COVID-19 is still spreading across our Wisconsin communities. Stay home if you are sick or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. We recommend Wisconsinites postpone all travel until you are fully vaccinated.

We also want you to know that:
  1. Both international (overseas) and U.S. travel is risky.
  2. The spread of COVID-19 can change quickly, including in areas of your travel destinations.
  3. People diagnosed with COVID-19 and close contacts are prohibited from using public transportation (for example, airplane, bus, ship, shuttle) during their isolation or quarantine periods.
  4. If you must travel, you should prepare for:

Considerations

All travelers

Before traveling away from your local community, consider the following:

  • Is it necessary that you make this trip? Each trip outside your local community has risks for you, those you live with, your community, and the community you are traveling to.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going? You can get infected while traveling.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling.
  • Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip? This increases your risk of getting infected and infecting others.
  • Are you or other travelers at high risk for becoming hospitalized from COVID-19?
  • Do you live with someone who is at high risk for becoming hospitalized from COVID-19?
  • Does the city or county where you live or visit require you to stay home and quarantine after traveling? Travel Planner Logo

Do not travel if you are sick, or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Do not travel with someone who is sick.

CDC’s Considerations for Travelers page has more information about travel. CDC's COVID-19 Travel Planner is a centralized communication platform with COVID-19 information for the state, local, territorial, and tribal communities travelers may pass through on the way to their destination.

Travel within Wisconsin

Do not travel if you are sick, or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Do not travel with someone who is sick.

We do not recommend travel between multiple private homes within the state. If you have been infected with COVID-19 and don’t yet have symptoms, travel to seasonal homes or rental cabins may raise the risk of you exposing others in the host community that you interact with at grocery stores, gas stations, and other public places. This could be particularly challenging if you are in areas with few doctors or hospitals. This is for your safety and well-being as well as the safety of our communities. See the CDC's list of Frequently Asked Questions about Travel for more information.

Bring everything you will need, including your own groceries, medications, and toiletries. You should practice enhanced hand and respiratory hygiene at all times.

If you do travel to an area with few doctors or hospitals, avoid going out into the community as much as possible. If you do go out into the community, practice physical distancing, wear a face mask, and wash or sanitize hands frequently.

Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions

If you are at risk for serious illness from COVID-19, you should reduce your chances of catching the virus. You should avoid all unnecessary travel both inside and outside of your community. When you must travel, be sure to take precautions to stay safe like wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and washing your hands frequently.

International travel

International travel poses health risks because COVID-19 continues to spread all over the world. If you are not fully vaccinated, you should avoid nonessential travel to all global destinations. If traveling to another country, check with your destination's Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers.

Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants. CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:

  • You should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3-5 days after travel.
  • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving United States unless your destination requires it.
  • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.

As of January 26, 2021, there are new requirements for all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative results or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days to the airline before boarding the flight. Details of the CDC order and recommendations for after international travel can be found at the CDC International Travel site.

 

If you travel

If you travel, we recommend you do the following:

  • Limit groups you are traveling with to those that you live with. This will reduce the number of interactions, which reduces risk for spread or exposure and helps with contact tracing efforts.
  • Check the state or city health department travel guidance for your destination and along your route. Plan to keep checking for updates as you travel.
  • State or city governments may enact travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantine upon arrival, mandated cloth facial coverings, or even state or border closures.
  • Talk with your doctor before you go, especially if you are 65 or older or have preexisting medical conditions.
  • Pack a cooler with drinks and snacks, including high-protein foods that will not go bad.
  • Bring everything you will need, including your own groceries, medications, and toiletries. This will reduce your need to interact with businesses in your destination area and reduce potential for spread or exposure.
  • Do a pre-trip check on your car and tires. Fewer roadside services may be available and you may become stranded if you have car troubles.
  • Clean your car, especially the steering wheel, safety belts, door handles, and the fob or keys you use to start the car. Follow the CDC guidelines on how to sanitize your home, which may be applicable to cleaning your car.
  • For each traveler, pack:
    • Cloth face masks
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Soap
    • Disinfectant wipes
    • A restroom break kit including bars of soap, paper towels for drying hands and using it to open doors, toilet seat covers, hand sanitizer, and wipes when soap and water are not available.
  • Pack plenty of charging cords and external batteries for electronic devices. If your car’s navigation system contains emergency calling, enable it.

If you need to stop for food, gas, or supplies:

  • One traveler should engage with store employees.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after returning to your car.
  • Use cloth face coverings.
  • Wait to use the restroom until after you pump gas, and wash your hands before and after doing so.
  • After you pump gas, be sure to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands immediately.

For more information on traveling safely, visit CDC's Travel website.

Plan your trip

  • Call the hotel, restaurant, or rest area to make sure they are open, as many may have reduced hours. Do not rely on a website’s information.
  • Read the fine print and understand your lodging’s cancellation rules.
  • Ask about refund options for hotels or rental properties ahead of your trip.
  • Book directly with the hotel or lodging establishment.

After you return from travel

After you travel, CDC recommendations include:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you do not get tested, it is safest to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • Always follow state and local recommendations related to travel.

If you are identified as being a close contact to a person with COVID-19 during your domestic or international travels, you are required to follow the public health guidance for COVID-19 quarantine. Visit DHS's Close Contacts webpage for more information on quarantine. If you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and were exposed to someone with COVID-19, you may not have to quarantine.

If you’ve traveled out of your community and interacted with others, we recommend that you self-monitor your health and follow state and local COVID-19 prevention practices, such as practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks, and good hand hygiene.

Some cities, counties, and employers may have post-travel requirements for their residents or employees, so DHS recommends checking with your local health department or employer prior to travel.

During self-quarantine:

Frequently asked questions

What is the travel guidance for people who are fully vaccinated?

You are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if it has been two or more weeks since you got your second dose in a two-dose series (such as Pfizer or Moderna), or one dose of a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson).

Domestic Travel

  • Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.
  • People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States:
    • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it
    • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine
  • Fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
    • Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
       

International Travel

  • Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.
  • CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated.
  • If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:
    • You should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3-5 days after travel.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.

What are the current CDC travel advisories and what do they mean?

Most countries are considered Level 4 at this time. Level 4 means there is a very high level of COVID-19 risk and all nonessential travel should be avoided; this list includes the United States. CDC classifies countries into different levels of travel risk based on each country's degree of COVID-19 transmission (primary criteria) and health care capacity and/or public health infrastructure (secondary criteria).

More information can be found on CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel webpage.

What should I do if I need to be tested before I travel?

Some countries and states are asking people to have proof of a negative test prior to travel. Plan ahead and know what type of test is required, when the sample needs to be collected (usually within 3 days of departure), and if it must be performed by a specific laboratory. There may be costs associated with obtaining pre-travel testing.

Should I quarantine after visiting another country or U.S. state?

If you are not fully vaccinated, CDC recommends that you self-quarantine for 7-10 days after you travel. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to self-quarantine after returning home from domestic or international travel. Visit the CDC's After You Travel webpage for more ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 after traveling.

How do I reach my local health department?

Your local or tribal health department depends on where you live. Please see the DHS Local Public Health webpage and click your county.

Last Revised: May 14, 2021

 The information on this page contains Department of Health Services (DHS) recommendations, some of which may be required based on state or local orders. Please contact your local or tribal health department for more information on COVID-19 related public health orders in your community.