CDC recommends that unvaccinated people skip Labor Day travel

The CDC has recommended that unvaccinated people not travel over Labor Day weekend, a position supported by the U.S. Travel Association. 

“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky during a White House teleconference on Aug. 31, when asked if people should avoid Labor Day travel. 

“We have actually articulated that people who are fully vaccinated and who are wearing masks can travel,” she said. 

U.S. Travel executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement on Wednesday that the association “urges everyone who is eligible and not yet vaccinated to do so immediately — to protect themselves, their neighbors and to help put us on the path to full recovery.”

“As Labor Day weekend approaches — a traditional peak for leisure travel — the CDC recommendation to unvaccinated individuals is a further reminder that vaccination is the fastest path to normalcy for all, including for widespread travel,” Barnes said. “The vaccines have proven safe and highly effective, and now with full FDA approval, there is no reason why anyone should further delay getting a shot. Accordingly, the CDC says vaccinated Americans who adhere to mask usage can continue to travel.”

Barnes added that in 2020 alone, the pandemic resulted in a $500 billion loss in travel spending that cost the U.S. $1.1 trillion in economic output. 

“Great strides have been made to combat the virus and restore the U.S. economy, and we cannot afford to backslide,” she said.  

Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-⁠19 response coordinator, made a similar plea during the press conference. 

“We need more individuals to step up, too. As people across the country prepare for Labor Day weekend, it’s critical that being vaccinated is part of their pre-holiday checklist,” he said. “Getting vaccinated is free. It’s easy and convenient. It’s safe and effective. And it’s never, ever been more important. So, please, if you are not fully vaccinated, don’t put it off any longer.”

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