It’s that time of year when we look forward to vacations, picnics, beach excursions, and just enjoying the warm weather — and of course Fourth of July celebrations such as parades, concerts, and fireworks.
One thing we need to recognize during the upcoming months is that COVID 19 is still here, it has not gone away, and we need to exercise caution. Our numbers are not as high as when COVID was first diagnosed in 2019, but there are still cases being reported and with the larger number of people enjoying outdoor activities we still need to be mindful of our surroundings and the safety protocols that should still be taken.
With that in mind, there are a few things you may want to consider investigating before vacationing — whether you’re staying in the United States or traveling out of the country. Some questions you may ask yourself are: “Do I need a PCR test or vaccination for my trip?,” “Do I have to wear a mask to travel?,” “If I leave the U.S., what are the requirements to get back in?” You should also make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters before traveling.
Also investigate the hotel where you plan to stay. Ask about their protocol for cleaning and the sanitation of surfaces, and check if there are contactless check-in options or any mask requirements.
If you work with a travel agent to plan any trips, they will be able to assist you in gathering any information you may need.
There are also different websites that will provide you with pertinent information about restrictions at home and abroad. This includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, where you will be able to inquire about any risks and restrictions and find guidance regarding international travel, domestic travel and cruise ships.
You should also investigate and become familiar with the public health conditions in the state or country where you plan on vacationing.
While it may seem as though this might make it tough to enjoy your summer, in reality having the necessary information ahead of time will enable you to protect yourself and your loved ones while still having a great time.
As parents, we know what we need to do to keep our children safe and healthy. While this summer we once again have the added task of understanding and dealing with COVID-19, we still have to deal with the typical summer responsibilities. This includes the usual day-to-day activities our children participate in, as well as water safety, keeping them hydrated on hot days, and ensuring their skin has adequate protection from the sun’s powerful rays. And of course, we have to be sure to prepare food the correct way for barbeques and check the maintenance on our vehicle before a long trip.
Summer’s longer days and often slower pace makes it a great season to enjoy time with family. By taking a few precautions, you can have a safe, healthy and relaxing summer.
If you are looking for activities for you and your family to enjoy this summer, check out the Middlesex County website for summer activities such as Plays-in-the-Park, Music-in-the-Park or other special events happening in Middlesex County.
Be safe, be healthy and enjoy your summer.
Ronald G. Rios is the director of the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners. He submits the occasional column to Newspaper Media Group.