Healdsburg, California (CNN) – After more than three months in lock-in with four children aged 5 to 8, Heather Reichel was determined to make a family vacation on the beach in Venice memorable for everyone.
Note a sweet holiday rental a few blocks from Strand. Her husband quit his job. The rest of the plan was simple: Six of them would drive under their home in Northern California and spend a great weekend on cruise beaches, exploring the canals and watching people.
Courtesy of Heather Reichel
Then the new cases of Covid-19 began to increase.
Rachel and her husband read about the increase in corona numbers in and around Los Angeles. They passed when Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Los Angeles County bars to close again. Unfortunately, Reichels made the difficult decision to cancel the trip a few weeks after booking. At least for now, their fun family vacation should be waiting.
“We desperately wanted a vacation, but our kids hadn’t even found it in a grocery store in four months, so I wasn’t comfortable going to such a number center,” said Reichel, who added that he could get it all back. “We just have to explore Los Angeles at another time.”
The Rachels are not the only travelers revisiting travel to and around California. Every day, tens of thousands of aspiring summer vacationers also go through similar rhythms.
It’s hard to blame any of them for hitting the brakes. While the state’s recreational travel industry reopened in mid-June, Newsom returned many of the openings this week in a bid to slow the transmission of viruses over the weekend of July 4th.
In short, growing Covid-19 cases have left many travelers wondering if traveling to or from California is a smart – or moral – decision.
Point Arena, a small coastal town in Mendocino County, along California’s famous National Road 1
Carol M. Highsmith / Visit to California
A host of new data sheds light on at least some of the rationale behind this hesitation.
The data comes from Destination Analysts, a San Francisco-based market research firm that has interviewed 1,200 prospective travelers about their views on travel each week since the pandemic began.
Erin Francis-Cummings, CEO, said that in May and early June, respondents were excited about the prospect of going out and traveling again. But in recent weeks, as the number of cases has skyrocketed across the country, the good atmosphere is waning.
Francis-Cummings said the new figure is a record high in her 16-week study. He guesses it’s probably a record in modern travel history.
“It’s an unstable situation to say the least,” he said, noting that the data reflects attitudes across the country. “When you think we’ve closed everything for three months, and people still feel that way, it’s really sad.”
Scene from Redondo Beach, CA, July 2, before the beach closes for the July 4 holiday
Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images
What causes this fear? What makes four out of 10 Americans say they won’t travel again this year? Undoubtedly, the changing nature of the pandemic plays a role. Another factor: non-compliance.
Francis-Cummings said many travelers appear to be fascinated by what Destination Analysts have described as “bad pandemic etiquette,” such as people who do not wear masks or maintain proper social distance.
“We can see that there was a correlation that if they had observed behavior in their community, then they were much less likely to be okay with tourists coming to them,” he said. “I think seeing these behaviors scares people and makes them reluctant to take the risk of going out to their cities or traveling elsewhere.”
In California, a paradox in the exchange of messages about the opening of the trip can also complicate this problem.
Recreational trips reopened on June 12, and Visit California, the state’s tourism marketing agency, invites residents to go out and explore their mass situation.
At the end of the year, Visit California released “See You Soon”, a series of digital ads designed to encourage people to explore their situation this summer. A new digital, radio and radio campaign, Calling All Californiaians, launched on August 3 and is designed to inspire Californians to think about enjoying local sites and experiences.
Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, said she hoped the boost would help the state’s tourism industry recover from about three months of downtime. According to research firm Tourism Economics, California is expected to lose up to $ 72.1 billion in travel spending this year – almost exactly half of what was created in 2019.
A clip from the digital advertising campaign of VIsit California
From Visit California
“[The new campaign] it’s really there to encourage [people] to see the California list as a patriotic act and to really help their fellow Californians get back on their feet, “he said. If we are out there visiting and spending money, we are really starting the economy. “
Many Californians receive different instructions at home. Several of California’s 58 counties are still virtually closed to travel, and the resumption of Newsom on July 1 limits most tourist activities to 19 others.
Many local public health orders suggest that residents make only “necessary” trips outside their home country. A recent statement from the State Department of Public Health reinforced this warning: A list of critical precautions begins with the warning, “Stay home whenever possible. It is the safest place for everyone.”
The list also reminds people to wear masks in public and keep their feet at a distance of 6 meters.
Individual destinations have reached a point where they completely ban visitors. In May, for example, shortly before Memorial Day weekend, the South Lake Tahoe town told people to stay away, warning that it would issue $ 1,000 fines to those who traveled to the area for unnecessary reasons. The warning was lifted a week later.
In recent weeks, Visit California has created a website with information about the trip responsibly during the pandemic. But with local municipalities proposing not to travel at all, the controversy could potentially raise more questions than they answer.
Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park near South Lake Tahoe
Brian Baer / California State Parks
Brian Ketterer, head of the Coastal Department of the Department of Foreign Parks & Entertainment, acknowledged that the situation is confusing.
“There is definitely a mixed message for the public,” said Ketterer, whose department oversees 280 park units across the state. “Some of the parking lots in our park are open, some are closed and some do not accept new reservations, which means that they are only open to travelers who made reservations before the pandemic started. People want to go out and recreate, but I think it is it’s hard for anyone to really understand what’s going on. “
No one in the state’s travel industry feels this confusion more strongly than hotels.
Yes, most of these stores are open to business. Yes, many have established strict safety precautions and guidelines that meet the requirements of the county’s public health offices, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health and the California Hotel and Accommodation Association.
But the application of these rules is inconsistent. And no place can guarantee that visitors will follow the same rules as soon as they leave the facility.
Farmhouse Inn, a small resort in Sonoma County, reopened on June 18.
Gentle offer Farmhouse Inn
Joe Bartolomei, co-owner and partner Farmhouse Inn, a popular 25-room resort in Sonoma County, reopened on June 18 and described his feelings about returning as a “mix of excitement and anxiety.” Bartolomei noted that the operation of a travel agency during a pandemic brings with it a number of new risks and responsibilities that travel agents did not have to deal with before.
“We are always responsible for the personal safety of people when they are in the property, but that means we don’t want them to slip or be in natural danger in their rooms,” he said. “It’s a whole new level of security now. We say, ‘We believe you can come here and not get sick.’ “We have to be more specific about everything.”
To meet this challenge, Farmhouse has created a number of features and protocols to keep the site as secure as possible. Some of these new initiatives include disinfection stations, aerosol cleaners that have been developed for soft surfaces and regular garbage in high-touch areas, such as knobs.
The resort has also issued reminders to wear masks and be at least six feet away from others.
“We need to make sure we make the right decisions at every step,” Bartolomei said. “If we have to close again, there will be an apparent result.”
Other hotels have spent resources on different approaches.
In the Figueroa Hotel In central Los Angeles, housekeepers go into the living room and develop an ultraviolet light technology to neutralize particles in the air. In the Nobu Ryokan Malibu, Visitors must have a temperature scan when they arrive to make sure they have no symptoms of the virus.
Given the high profile of a client visiting the 16-room seaside getaway, GM Janelle Eng said she and her staff tried to make the process as painless and distinct as possible.
With just 16 rooms, Nobu Ryokan Malibu is an ideal hotel for social distances
Courtesy of Nobu Ryokan Malibu
The time scanner looks like an iPad. for scanning, visitors simply stand in front and look straight ahead. If a visitor has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, the reception staff will take that person to the door, do a visual inspection, and re-take the visitor’s temperature with another thermometer.
Eng said that if the visitor still does not record a normal reading, the hotel will work with him to deal with the next steps, including the possibility of reprogramming a visit.
“We have worked hard to ensure that these protocols are not clinical or clumsy,” he said. “At the same time, we have a responsibility to keep visitors, employees and all those who own our property as healthy as possible.”
Challenges for theme parks, attractions, restaurants
Betting is even higher for other players in the travel industry.
Take for example theme parks and attractions. These destinations attract thousands or tens of thousands of visitors every day – each a potential carrier for Covid-19. While many employees of these facilities are willing to reopen after months of lost revenue, most are struggling with the same type of stress as Bartolomei and are watching the numbers very closely.
Disneyland in Anaheim delayed its resumption indefinitely.
Apu Gomes / AFP / Getty Images
Disneyland is a great example. The theme park was set to reopen gradually on July 17, but park officials said last month that they were delaying the plans indefinitely.
Legoland California, an I-5 theme park in Carlsbad, recently announced similar delays. The park had prepared to reopen on July 1, but earlier this week issued a statement postponing at least August 1.
“We understand that we live in an unprecedented state of public health like this, and so our schedule is constantly evolving based on the information we receive,” said Kurt Stocks, GM of Legoland. “Whenever we open again, we will welcome visitors in a reduced capacity, but in an incredibly safe and disinfectant environment.”
Safari West, an animal theme park in Santa Rosa, reopened to the public on June 20 and added plexiglass dividers to separate visitors sitting in four-wheeled vehicles touring the 400-acre property.
From press time, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey planned to reopen on July 9 for members and July 13 for the public. A Kevin Connor spokesman said that when the attraction welcomes visitors, it will introduce a number of new measures designed to minimize virus transmission. In particular, he said, visitors over the age of 3 should wear face covers, children’s playgrounds should be closed and some of the most limited exhibits will be out of bounds.
Connor added that visitors will be able to follow two separate one-way routes through the aquarium.
“We want people to visit, but we’re really trying to give them the space they need,” he said. “If you feel like you’re missing something for the first time, you can always go through it again.”
Restaurants are also struggling to embrace tourism.
Even after Newsom ordered 19 counties to reopen domestic food on July 1, more than half of the state’s states allow it, as long as restaurants can safely separate tables six meters apart.
Some restaurants do not take any chances and only sit visitors in outdoor terraces or outdoor dining rooms where transmission risks are lower. Other restaurants are trying new approaches to give guests peace of mind.
Lulu California Bistro in Palm Springs uses QR codes to reduce contact points.
Courtesy of LULU California Bistro
In the LULU California Bistro In Palm Springs, CEO John Sai said he has implemented a new contactless menu technology to minimize the need for visitors and servers to exchange anything other than food and bills.
The system revolves around QR codes. to order, a visitor simply scans the codes with her phone and a menu automatically appears in a web browser. Servers can also offer disposable menu papers if guests prefer.
Since its release, only the patio at LULU has been open, but Shay said visitors’ comments about the new approach to the order were extremely positive.
“When you come here, you will feel safe,” he said.
What does it all mean for travelers?
Στο τέλος της ημέρας, φυσικά, εκτός από ίσως για εκείνους που είχαν ήδη το Covid-19 και έχουν αναρρώσει από αυτό, κανένας από εμάς δεν είναι πραγματικά «ασφαλής» από αυτό.
Αυτό σημαίνει ότι το βάρος είναι για τους ταξιδιώτες να ακολουθούν τις τοπικές οδηγίες για τη δημόσια υγεία όσο καλύτερα μπορούν.
Ο Ketterer, αξιωματούχος των κρατικών πάρκων, δήλωσε ότι οι περισσότεροι κάτοικοι της Καλιφόρνια “δεν χρειάζεται να πάνε έξω από τις επαρχίες τους για να περάσουν καλά”. Η συμβουλή του: Σχεδιάστε να επισκεφθείτε σε ώρες εκτός λειτουργίας για να αποφύγετε τα πλήθη και να είστε προετοιμασμένοι να αλλάξετε σχέδια εάν η ατμόσφαιρα σε έναν προορισμό γίνεται άβολα.
Συνέστησε επίσης τη χρήση ενός RV ή ρυμουλκούμενου για τη μεγιστοποίηση του “αυτοεξυπηρετούμενου” και την ελαχιστοποίηση της ανάγκης εισόδου και εξόδου από τοπικές εγκαταστάσεις για να χρησιμοποιήσετε το μπάνιο ή να πάρετε φαγητό.
Για μεγαλύτερα ταξίδια εντός της Καλιφόρνια ή για επισκέπτες εκτός πολιτείας που φαίνονται να αποστασιοποιηθούν από την καραντίνα με ένα ταξίδι στο Golden State, είναι σημαντικό να ακολουθείτε τους κανόνες και τους κανονισμούς κάθε προορισμού και να είστε προσεκτικοί σε όσους ζουν εκεί.
Για να το επαναλάβω, τουλάχιστον, αυτό σημαίνει ότι φοράτε μάσκες, κρατάτε τουλάχιστον έξι πόδια από τους άλλους και πλένετε τακτικά τα χέρια σας.
Και οι ταξιδιώτες που επισκέπτονται τη Νέα Υόρκη, το Κοννέκτικατ και το Νιου Τζέρσεϋ μπορούν να περιμένουν να καραντίνα κατά την επιστροφή τους στην πατρίδα τους – κάτι που είναι μια σημαντική τιμή για να πληρώσεις για διασκέδαση στον ήλιο.
Θεματικά πάρκα όπως το Legoland ανοίγουν ξανά στην Καλιφόρνια
Daniel Knighton / Getty Images
Ο Francis-Cummings, ο ερευνητής του Destination Analysts, δήλωσε ότι ενώ κάθε Αμερικανός πιθανότατα θα μπορούσε να χρησιμοποιήσει μια καλή απόδραση σε αυτό το σημείο στην πανδημία του κοροναϊού, η καλύτερη απόφαση για μερικούς μπορεί να είναι απλώς να παραμείνουν ή να κάνουν αυτό που έκανε ο Ράιχελς, να ακυρώσει και ελπίζω να ταξιδέψω άλλη φορά.
«Είναι ηθικό να ταξιδεύεις προς ή εντός Καλιφόρνιας αυτήν τη στιγμή; Πιστεύω απολύτως ότι θα μπορούσες σίγουρα να θέσεις αυτή την ερώτηση», είπε. “Είναι αντίθετο με το DNA μας καθώς οι Αμερικανοί λένε ότι δεν μπορούμε να κάνουμε κάτι, και νομίζω ότι οι άνθρωποι θεώρησαν ότι το ταξίδι ήταν σημαντικό μέρος της ζωής τους πριν από το Covid-19. Μερικοί άνθρωποι μπορεί να πιστεύουν ότι είναι απολύτως το σωστό. Κάποιοι άλλοι μπορεί να μην είναι άνετα. Δεν υπάρχει σωστή απάντηση. Όλα οφείλονται στη σωστή συμπεριφορά και τη λήψη των απαραίτητων προφυλάξεων – για εσάς και για όλους τους άλλους. “
Ο Matt Villano είναι συγγραφέας και συντάκτης που ζει στη Βόρεια Καλιφόρνια. Το πρώτο μέρος που παίρνει την οικογένειά του όταν νιώθουν άνετα να ταξιδεύουν ξανά: Hana, στο νησί Maui της Χαβάης. Μάθετε περισσότερα για αυτόν στο whalehead.com.