Travel Advisory and Guidance
February 3, 2021
The more people travel, the more interactions people have. The more interactions people have with people outside of their household, the greater the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Travel (especially by shared conveyances such as air, bus, or rail travel) can not only put the traveler at risk but also all members of the community if the traveler spreads COVID-19 to others after returning to Los Angeles County.
Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 during this pandemic.
As Los Angeles County continues to grapple with its COVID-19 cases and given the prevalence of COVID-19 in many states and countries, persons arriving in Los Angeles County (LAC) from other states or countries and LAC residents returning from other states or countries could introduce new sources of infection, including new strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, into Los Angeles.
Despite recent decreases in the current COVID-19 surge of cases and hospitalizations and given the new daily cases and hospitalizations remain high, it remains imperative that LAC residents continue to take steps necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 and contain new sources of infection. The County of Los Angeles is issuing the following guidance for travelers:
- Los Angeles County residents should continue to avoid all non-essential travel and stay within 120 miles from their place of residence, unless they are traveling for essential purposes. Avoiding travel reduces the risk of virus transmission, including by reducing the risk that new sources of infection and, potentially, new virus strains that are now present in California. "Non-essential travel" includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. "Essential travel" is travel associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or otherwise required or expressly authorized by law (including other applicable state and local public health directives), including work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.
- All non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering the County of Los Angeles and need to self-quarantine as set forth in Paragraph 3.
- All persons arriving in or returning to the County of Los Angeles from other states or countries, must self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival, except as necessary to meet urgent critical healthcare staffing needs or to otherwise engage in emergency response. Additionally, this does not apply to individuals who routinely cross state or country borders solely for the purpose of essential travel.
If you do travel into Los Angeles County from outside of California, you need to self-quarantine for 10 days after you arrive and must limit your interactions to people in your household/people with whom you live. If you travel into Los Angeles County solely for essential work purposes, you need to still self-quarantine outside of your work for 10 days and ensure you do not mix with others outside of those necessary to conduct your essential work.
Guidance on Safer Essential Travel
If you routinely cross state or country borders for essential travel, you must still comply with all requirements related to wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Upon returning from essential travel outside of California, you are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine if you engaged any of the following activities that place you at a higher risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19:
- You interacted for more than 15 minutes within six feet of someone outside your household when you or the other people around you were not wearing a face covering at all times;
- You were indoors, including on a shared conveyance, such as a plane, train or bus, and either you or those around you were not wearing face coverings at all times; or
- You interacted for more than 15 minutes within six feet of someone—either with or without a face covering—who was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who began to experience symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of your interaction with them.
If you MUST travel, plan ahead:
- Know how widespread COVID-19 is in the area you must travel to. For cases in the last 7 days by state, see https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days. For the risk assessment level for COVID-19 by country, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.
- Find out where you can be tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your trip. For a list of symptoms, see http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/about-covid.htm.
- People at high-risk of severe COVID-19 should be particularly careful about traveling, including:
- People who are older, smoke or are overweight
- Pregnant women
- People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, heart problems, COPD, cancer, weakened immune systems, and sickle cell disease.
- Avoid travel to the extent possible if you will be traveling with someone who cannot wear a mask consistently, including children under 2 years old who should not be wearing face masks due to risk of suffocation.
DO NOT travel if you are sick. You could spread COVID-19.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms (see ph.lacounty.gov/covidcare), get tested and wait for a negative test result before you start your trip.
A negative test should not be interpreted as a safety clearance for traveling or for engaging in other high-risk activities or with others indoors, without wearing a face covering/mask, and without practicing physical distancing. These tests assess for virus in your body the moment you were tested; you may actually have COVID-19 that won’t show up on a test until later that day or in subsequent days, and a negative test might create a false sense of security.
If you MUST travel, reduce your risk.
- Wear a face covering/mask and stay 6 feet or more away from people you do not live with, including family members you do not normally live with.
- Avoid spending time indoors with people you don’t normally live with, including family members, to the extent possible. The risk of getting COVID-19 is generally much greater indoors than outdoors because the virus that causes COVID-19 can travel in the air more than 6 feet and collects indoors and in enclosed spaces. If you must spend time indoors, choose a larger room that is well-ventilated or where windows and doors can be opened, and wear a face mask at all times.
- Try to limit the number of people you interact with. For example, if you are traveling for work or you must travel to care for family, avoid in-person interactions with neighbors or friends.
- Don’t share vehicles with people you don’t live with. Vehicles are small enclosed spaces where COVID-19 can spread easily between people. If you must share a vehicle, try to ride with the same people each time, 1) make sure everyone wears a facemask, 2) open the windows, and 3) maximize outdoor air circulation as much as you can.
- Avoid meals, drinks, or gatherings with people you don’t normally live with, including family members. Eating and drinking together is higher-risk because people must take off their masks to eat or drink, are more likely to touch their mouths while eating, often sit within 6 feet of each other, and talk while eating, creating more respiratory droplets or small particles. If you do have a meal or private gathering, it must 1) be limited to one or two other households with a maximum of 15 people, 2) be held outdoors only, and 3) be limited to two hours or less, and 4) follow the Social (Physical) Distancing requirements of the County Order Section 3a. It is safer for people in different households to sit outdoors at least 6 feet apart and to wear masks when they are not actively eating or drinking (such as when talking).
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Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.