Federal, state COVID travel guidelines
February 1, 2021
Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Social distancing is difficult in busy airports and on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. How you get to and from the airport, such as with public transportation and ridesharing, can also increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.
Testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes, in airports and at destinations.
Here’s what to know:
Get tested 1-3 days before your flight.
Get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home for 7 days after travel.
Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.
Delay your travel if you are waiting for test results.
Several new variants of the virus causing COVID-19 have been reported, including one in the United Kingdom (UK), one in South Africa and one from Brazil. The UK variant appears to spread faster but does not appear to cause more severe disease. As of Jan. 10, 2021, cases of the UK variant have been confirmed in multiple regions of the United States. None have yet been found in Alaska. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring the new variants and encouraging states to do more sequencing. The Alaska State Public Health Laboratories routinely sequence a subset of positive SARS-CoV-2 tests including all that contain the pattern associated with the UK strain.
Alaska Health Order 6 requires, at minimum, a test within 72 hours before arrival and strict social distancing for 5 days on arrival to Alaska. To stop new strains of virus like the UK strain from coming into Alaska and spreading, testing 1 to 3 days before travel, staying home for 7 days after travel and testing again 3 to 5 days after travel is highly encouraged. Starting Jan 26, 2021, the CDC will require international travelers to show proof of a negative test from within the last 72 hours on arrival back in the U.S.
Compiled from the CDC and Alaska State Dept. of Health and Social Services websites.