The U.S. Level 4 Travel Advisory, Do Not Travel, is unprecedented since it's in place for all countries and urges all U.S. citizens to either return to the U.S. immediately or prepare to be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. Here's the advisory:
“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.”
The advisory does make sense given how rapid country entry restrictions and quarantine rules are changing in response to the coronavirus outbreak, often with no notice or very little notice. On the other hand, “immediate return” seems somewhat extreme if you're due to return to the U.S. in a few days, and you're willing to take the chance of having to alter return plans in case your return flight is postponed or cancelled.
There's also the matter of where you're returning to–NYC is hardly a great place to be right now, with 30% of the coronavirus cases of the U.S. and the prediction that hospitals will run out of basic medical supplies around the beginning of April. Not to mention the fact that to facilitate social distancing, there's an 8pm-5am curfew and the theaters, restaurants, bars, and gyms are closed (apart from takeout being allowed for restaurants). In all likelihood, many of these businesses, particularly independent restaurants, bars, and local shops, will never again reopen, costing so many workers their jobs and changing the character of neighborhoods forever.
I'm all for curbing the increase in coronavirus, but I do mourn all the casualties the restrictions will have economically and socially, even as the measures hopefully save lives.
Will the Department of State Level 4 Do Not Travel Advisory impact you or someone you know?
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