Travel Guidance

Traveling During the Pandemic

Travel during the COVID-19 pandemic increases your chance of catching and spreading COVID-19.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others and nonessential travel is not advised.  However, if you DO have to travel, it is important to discuss your travel options with your family, friends, and community beforehand.  

Things to consider:

  • Be sure to check the entry requirements for the place you are traveling to, which may change at short notice. Good sites to check include the State Department Travel website (for international travel),  and individual state websites (for travel within the US).  You may also wish to research COVID rates at your exact destination in making your decision.  Please note that many countries require documentation of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of travel, which can be challenging to obtain.   Non-US citizens/residents should be aware that the U.S. border remains closed to many nationals and could change at any time.

  • Traveling by mass transit (air, train, bus, ferry) is likely to expose you to more people than you are usually around, who may not have been as careful as you, and who may be traveling from areas with higher rates of COVID than the Bay Area.  It is difficult to 100% protect yourself when you are sitting in an airplane within 6 feet of 8 people (which is the case with many airlines currently, with every other seat blocked), especially on a long trip where you and others will need to remove your mask to eat or drink.  When possible, drive and/or travel with people you live with.

  • Since many people with COVID have no symptoms, you may be infected without being aware and thus unwittingly infect (or be infected by) family members or others you may be around. The more you travel, the higher the risk of infection for you and for others, some of whom may be at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

  • Since you may become ill while traveling, be sure to double-check your health insurance covers urgent needs wherever you are going, and that your tickets are changeable/refundable.  Please do not travel -- coming or going --  if you have symptoms or have recently (< 2 weeks) been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Whether you travel or not, it is important to continue with regular surveillance testing. For additional information see the CDC COVID travel information website. 

I HAVE to Travel: How Do I Protect Myself and Others?

If you do have to travel, you can help protect those you are visiting - or returning to - by doing the following, in addition to the usual hygiene measures we are so used to by now (masking AND physical distancing, frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding crowds):

BEFORE travel:

  • quarantine for 1-2 weeks and get a test (swab or saliva) 72 hours before travel, awaiting a negative result before you leave.  

AFTER travel:

  • quarantine for a week after arrival then get a test (swab or saliva) and await a negative result before interacting with family and friends, especially those who may be at higher risk for serious COVID disease. Another option that may sound familiar and does not require testing is to quarantine for 14 days before resuming activities.  

  • Please do not travel if you have COVID symptoms or have recently been in close contact with a case.

Additional safe holiday tips include limiting gatherings and trying to hold any holiday activities outdoors. Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited in California, and the more mixing, the higher the risk.  Do especially remember to keep more than 6 feet apart if you are eating or drinking, whether indoors or out.

Faculty / Staff Travel Recommendations

If you have traveled outside of the 10 Bay Area Counties in the last 14 days: 

**does not apply if you regularly commute to work in Berkeley from places outside of the Bay Area.  

ON-SITE EMPLOYEES (FACULTY/STAFF/STUDENT EMPLOYEES): 

  • If you must be on campus as an essential on-site worker, you should return to work without quarantine after you attest to the daily Symptom Screener survey, however, you are advised to otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days followed by a negative COVID-19 test.  We strongly advise ALL essential workers to get testing weekly regardless of travel.    

PERIODICALLY ON-SITE EMPLOYEES (FACULTY/STAFF/STUDENT EMPLOYEES): 

  • If you can work remotely, consider remote work and self-quarantine for 7 days followed by a negative COVID-19 test, or a 14 day self-quarantine.   When you return, you must attest to the daily Symptom Screener survey.  

TESTINGWe encourage you to take advantage of UHS's asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program. Getting a test is easy. Simply go to eTang.berkeley.edu, select "Schedule an appointment" in the "Appointments" tab and answer a few questions to get started. Asymptomatic testing sites are currently located at the Recreational Sports Facility and Memorial Stadium.

**IF AT ANY POINT YOU DEVELOP SYMPTOMS, YOU SHOULD STAY HOME, SELF-ISOLATE, CALL OCC HEALTH TO DISCUSS SYMPTOMATIC TESTING, AND CONTACT YOUR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER FOR EVALUATION. ** 

University-related Travel 

UCOP continues to operate under a systemwide directive that restricts non-essential travel on University business.  Please see the Campus Travel website for more information.