COVID-19 Holiday TravelOctober 16, 2020
In July 2020 I wrote a blog discussing Covid 19 custody issues that parents should anticipate and address in advance. For example – would routine custody exchanges continue to take place? How would remote learning be handled if it became necessary? In most cases, these day to day issues have been resolved. However, Covid 19 is still with us and the approach of the holiday season brings a new set of questions and concerns.
Celebrating the holidays with members of your own household or with family members who live locally should not present any problems. Of course, social distancing and masks may be required but generally, exposure to immediate family members has already safely occurred and pose no more risk than routine custodial visits. The problems arise when parents want to travel with the children out of state or to a foreign country. Even if the location to which a parent proposes to travel will permit visitors from the United States, there remains a question of quarantine requirements upon arrival in the country and again upon return to the United States. Even travel within the United States can be an issue due to the need to quarantine upon arrival home.
Keep in mind quarantine applies not only to the parent but also to the children. So, upon return to Pennsylvania, the traveling parent must quarantine even if he/she traveled without the children. This solo travel may impact on a parent’s ability to have custodial time with the children upon return to Pennsylvania.
Another potentially problematic area involves family members who come from other states or countries to visit in your home. The quarantine rules may apply in this situation also, depending on the state or country from which friends and relatives arrive.
In some instants, there are no hard and fast rules set out to govern these situations. But to avoid last-minute snags, parents should discuss holiday plans keeping in mind that while there may be no objection from the other parent, there may be an objection from school districts or employers.
And be cautious of the fact that the rules and regulations are in constant flux. Flexibility will no doubt be necessary.
There are numerous websites that will help you stay updated on the latest travel directives. You can google “US travel restrictions state by state” and review a comprehensive list of the restrictions that may impact your travel within the United States and Alaska and Hawaii. The site is easy to use and is updated regularly.
For specific information on Pennsylvania directives on not only travel but general restrictions on crowd size, etc, see on.pa.gov/coronavirus. Finally, for travel outside the United States try Travel.State.gov U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs and search Travel to ______________________ (Fill in your destination) Covid 19 Restrictions. Internet searches are not my expertise. The above are simply searches that I googled that gave me the best information. There are no doubt more official sites but these are good starting places.
Planning ahead is critical. Anticipate problems and resolve them well in advance of a planned trip.