After CDC announces new travel guidelines, local travel agent sees interest from travelers

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 8:56 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, announced new guidelines for domestic travelers that received their COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the CDC, fully-vaccinated people can travel within the United States and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling, like wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing and washing hands frequently.

A person is considered fully-vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine.

Since that announcement, Terrie Dean, the co-owner of the Wishing Well in Harrisonburg, says the travel industry is finally seeing momentum after being crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. She said people are itching to travel after getting their shot and especially after receiving their stimulus checks a few weeks ago.

The Wishing Well has seen interest from older adults, who were some of the first to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as newlyweds.

“We had some folks who went ahead with their wedding, though it was downsized, and then took a small trip, like a weekend getaway,” Dean said. “They told me they’re going to put their honeymoon plans on hold.”

As health districts serving the Shenandoah Valley opened up the vaccine to the general population, Dean said she expects younger age groups to begin planning trips soon, but this causes a new challenge for the travel industry.

“Some hotels are still not at 100% capacity which is affecting the availability of some hotels, so we’re seeing that,” Dean said. “There are still some challenges, but the big challenge of not being able to go and having to quarantine, that’s over.”

For those looking to plan a trip, Dean warns travelers to be on the lookout for travel scams.

“We’re telling people to call us, even if you’re not going to book with us, let us help you find the good names and good vendors that you can use to book a reliable trip,” she said.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 280,000, as pandemic-related restrictions eased in many parts of the country. Hotels added back 40,000 positions.

Dean said several airlines announced hirings in response to growing travel interest and she said the Wishing Well may have to add some new positions to keep up with the demand, too.

For more information on the Wishing Well, click here.

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