The U.S. travel industry has submitted to the White House a document titled, “Travel in the New Normal,” a set of operational guidelines proposed by industry leaders as the result of a collaborative effort between medical experts, businesses and organizations.
The document lays out a set of suggestions for businesses operating in the air travel sector to keep both employees and customers safe and healthy as travel begins to pick up again following the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While maintaining and improving health and safety practices is a first priority for these guidelines, Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said he also hopes it will address the concern of customers’ confidence in traveling again. Surveys conducted in recent weeks cite traveler confidence as one of the biggest potential hurdles for the aviation industry to overcome in recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
The document submitted to the White House outlines six major areas for improvement or focus, where industry leaders are advised on how best to ensure safety, wellness and confidence throughout the travel experience.
1. Travel businesses should adapt operations, modify employee practices and/or redesign public spaces to help protect employees and customers.
2. Travel businesses should consider implementing touchless solutions, where practical, to limit the opportunity for virus transmission while also enabling a positive travel experience.
3. Travel businesses should adopt and implement enhanced sanitation procedures specifically designed to combat the transmission of COVID-19.
4. Travel businesses should promote health screening measures for employees and isolate workers with possible COVID-19 symptoms and provide health resources to customers.
5. Travel businesses should establish a set of procedures aligned with CDC guidance should an employee test positive for COVID-19.
6. Travel businesses should follow best practices in food and beverage service to promote health of employees and customers.
With these tenants, Dow said in a press call on Monday discussing the guidelines, travel businesses can move forward once nonessential travel begins to open up across the country.
“We will not encourage people to travel until public health experts and authorities have made it clear that it’s the right time to do so,” Dow said in a press release announcing the document. “Our industry’s focus is on preparing for that moment, and on demonstrating that our preparations are comprehensive and informed by the counsel of top experts.”