All 50 U.S. states have begun the process of reopening, but that doesn’t mean that things will be completely “back to normal” in short order. Social distancing and public health measures are still being enforced by businesses and local authorities, which means the world we’re about to reenter will look quite different from how things were in the past.
Whether it’s travel restrictions or mandatory masks in places like Costco and Walt Disney World, the post-COVID-19 version of America will probably take some getting used to. Tap or click here to see our picks for the best germ-blocking face masks.
And speaking of travel restrictions, it’s not just nonessential international travel that’s closed. Individual states have a range of checkpoints and border changes that can tricky to understand if you’re not a local. But fear not, because AAA is here with a brand new map that clears up any confusion on the travel status of each American state. Here’s what you can find out.
AAA helps you navigate a changed America
The American Automobile Association (better known as AAA, or Triple A), knows that housebound Americans will be champing at the bit to start roaming the country once lockdowns and stay-at-home orders expire across the country.
And since America is in the early stages of reopening, it’s partnered with analytics firm Esri to bring you an interactive map that shows what kind of travel restrictions are present across each state of our nation.
The map is both searchable and optimized for mobile use, so you can check it out while you’re playing co-pilot on the next road trip you take.
Hotspot or not?
One of the most useful features of this map, however, is the ability to overlay COVID-19 case data over the various regions and counties of the U.S. With this tool, you can verify whether or not you’ll be driving into a case-heavy area and make informed decisions on whether to venture further or stay at home.
And if you’re worried about the accuracy of the data, don’t be. It comes from official sources like the CDC and World Health Organization, as well as national, state, and local governments and Departments of Transportation.
The only thing this map doesn’t show you is up-and-coming COVID-19 news, but that’s not to say there isn’t a tool for that already. Tap or click here to see the COVID-19 news ticker and map that should be your new homepage.
Beyond the open road: TSA issues changes for air travel
America’s roadways aren’t the only things changing as the pandemic situation evolves. The TSA has also issued several new guidelines for domestic air travel that are designed to curb the spread of infection.
Here’s what you’ll need to prepare for the next time you step on a plane:
- Passengers will no longer hand over their boarding passes. Passengers will be asked to scan the barcodes themselves or hold them up to be read by a screener.
- Food should be placed in a plastic bag and put in a separate bin before it goes through the X-ray scanner. This prevents any false alarms or holdups that could slow down security screenings.
- Up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer can be carried, but other liquids must be kept to 3.4 ounces or less.
- If a bag is found with a prohibited item, passengers may be sent away from security with their bag to throw it away. This reduces contact between screeners and passengers’ belongings.
- The TSA asks that passengers maintain social distancing of at least six feet. Markers will be placed on the ground in the near future to help with the process.
- Passengers are encouraged to wear facial coverings or masks while inside the airport and security checkpoints, although they may need to briefly pull coverings down for identification.
- Some U.S. airlines are requiring passengers to wear masks while on board.
- All TSA officers at checkpoints will be wearing masks and gloves. Some may wear eye coverings and face shields.
- TSA officer gloves will be changed regularly.
- Plastic shields will be installed at many airports for check-ins, bag searches and other passenger-facing areas.
- Mandatory cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening area by TSA employees.
It’s not all bad news though: The TSA also advises to expect shorter waits due to a significant reduction in passenger volume. We still don’t recommend flying at the moment, but if you must, you won’t be waiting nearly as long.
It’s just another example of how drastically life has changed after the COVID-19 pandemic took shape. At this stage, it may be too early to tell how long these adjustments will last, but for the time being, stay safe and keep washing those hands. You never know what you may have come into contact with.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.