The U.S. Travel Association is confident that the industry can launch a safe and successful recovery this summer so long as travelers continue to wear masks and adhere to common-sense safety measures such as physical distancing and frequent hand washing.
Citing the latest information uncovered by medical experts, U.S. Travel came out in strong support of mask usage and other safety protocols in the fight against COVID-19 earlier this month.
"The travel community strongly urges visitors and residents alike to wear masks and adhere to all healthy practices, such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing and remaining home if sick — no matter where you may be traveling in the country," U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement on July 1.
Experts believe that it's safe to resume travel so long as Americans continue to take the proper precautions. However, the overall experience will still be much different for the near future.
"I actually feel much more comfortable with some travel moving forward at this point than I did two to three months ago, just because I think we have a lot more info on how effective mask-wearing is and some of these other behaviors," Trish Perl, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, told Travel Weekly.
"We've learned a lot in the past couple months and we can move forward with some travel but not travel that we used to know. It will be very different. We can't tolerate huge crowds and places without good physical distancing," added Perl. "If we want to move forward and open up these different industries, it's not negotiable whether you wear a mask or use hand sanitizer."
Destinations, travel suppliers and businesses will need to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 as well or risk a return to shutdowns and stifling travel restrictions.
"We think travel businesses should encourage the wearing of masks. Many are. All we can do is focus on the best way to bring jobs back and get people moving again," said U.S. Travel executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Barnes, via Travel Weekly. "We think as we work to reopen you can do so in a healthy and safe way and a responsible way."