In light of the Coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak, we are closely monitoring the situation in all of our destinations as we care for our present and incoming groups and travelers. We are currently experiencing high call volumes. Should you require assistance, we encourage you to email your tour representative.
If you are not due to travel within the next 3-4 weeks, we recommend that you wait before contacting us to ensure we have the latest policy information for your travel. The health and safety of our travelers are paramount to our business. Please read the specific sub-sections and FAQ below and let us know how we can best help you as you plan your student tour.
Trustworthy sources on COVID19
CDC states the following on its Covid19 main page under “Current risk assessment:”
For most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated, though still relatively low risk of exposure.
Airports across the world have implemented enhanced health screenings for travelers, which travelers may see when they travel. Regardless of the destination, we encourage all to follow standard hygiene practices to stay healthy.
FAQ: 2020 Booked Groups
Our Covid19 Protocol
As with any crisis, we will closely follow our Vamonos safety protocol:
- Keep the group safe and together.
- Be ready to make any itinerary changes always for the welfare of our groups.
- Increase our extra precautionary measures, along with local vendors, hotels, buses, and governments, to sanitize surfaces and diminish any spread of germs. Urge travelers not to share foods or drinks with anyone else.
- Advise travelers to purchase optional travel insurance upon enrollment in order to avoid unforeseen issues that may cause them to cancel their tour and lose their deposits.
- Urge individuals to stay home if they are sick prior to tour departure.
- Offer hand sanitizers and ask students to wash their hands multiple times a day.
- Follow CDC, and the WHO guidelines periodically.
- Inform group of any affected flight changes through group leader and the tour portal.
- Urge group leaders to encourage travelers to use good hygiene practices, such as:
- NO TOUCH: Keep your hands out of your nose, eyes, and mouth.
- COVER and turn away when you or others are coughing or sneezing.
- WASH hands thoroughly before eating anything.
- AVOID shaking hands or touching handles especially in large public places
Puerto Rico Groups
For those traveling to Puerto Rico, please know that San Juan, despite being one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean, has no incoming flights from Asia, the Middle East, or Italy. Fortunately, more than 90% of flights are domestic. There have been no reported cases in Puerto Rico at this time, and there is no CDC alert for Puerto Rico related to coronavirus (COVID-19). There has been no change to flights or cruises arriving in Puerto Rico, and events on the Island have been continuing as planned.
As a precautionary measure, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the CDC have implemented enhanced screening measures at all gateways on the Island, and funds have been made available on the Island to help our hospitals prepare to treat anyone with symptoms.
Two viruses perspective: By Z. Kerby, President & CEO of ASTA
Over the weekend, while driving my 11 year-old daughter to an ice skating lesson with her best friend, I overheard their backseat conversation: “Did you know that if you get the coronavirus, there’s a 70 percent chance you will die?” (As we know, the actual coronavirus mortality rate is between one and two percent.)
At that moment, I knew there were two viruses at work. One – coronavirus, which is quite rare and hard to catch. And two – fear, which is becoming more prevalent, and is easily spread. At the risk of picking on our hometown newspaper, in this Saturday’s Washington Post, 14 out of 17 clickable stories on the home page were coronavirus-related – everything from stock market decline to political blame to personal experience from people with the virus. (My favorite: “I have the coronavirus. So far, it hasn’t been that bad for me.“)
Covid19 and young people (from www.syta.org)
One ray of light in this crisis is the fact that young people appear to be less prone to get infected with the Coronavirus. It is more apt to affect adults between the ages of 49 and 56. You may want to read these recent articles about young people, which may help to allay fears when you are talking with your clients, especially parents and teachers.
Covid19 and warm weather
According to experts (read NPR’s Can Coronavirus be Crushed by Warmer Weather?), this virus may be sensitive to UV irradiation and temperatures above 80 degrees. All our Caribbean and Central American destinations, plus Miami, have annual temperatures that fluctuate on average between 77-86 degrees. We encourage groups to keep traveling to these destinations.