ERIE COUNTY, NY – For Erie County residents considering family celebrations and religious gatherings this upcoming weekend, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is offering this guidance.
ECDOH strongly encourages faith leaders and religious facility managers to review safety plans and operations, along with NY Forward Religious Services guidance, in advance of services this weekend. Virtual or live-streamed religious gatherings, though not ideal, are the safest way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For in-person gatherings, faith leaders should strongly encourage face mask use for all attendees, follow NY guidance for cleaning and social distancing, and consider outdoor services.
NY Forward Religious Services
For family celebrations, limiting gathering size is one strategy to reduce COVID-19 risks. If unvaccinated people or children are present, face masks should be worn. Despite the changing Western New York weather, ECDOH recommends outdoor activities and meals, as well as disposable plates and utensils. And as with all activities, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who feels ill should stay home.
Spring Break Travel
ECDOH has fielded questions from businesses, school leaders and the general public about travel plans for spring break or other travel out of state. After April 1, 2021, New York State will no longer require individuals returning to New York from certain domestic travel to quarantine, or to “test out” of quarantine. However, Erie County is experiencing a high rate of COVID-19 transmission, as are other areas of the country. Air travel and travel in states that do not require the use of masks will put travelers at risk for COVID-19 exposure; and traveling Erie County residents may put others at risk of exposure. Quarantine requirements for international travelers remain in effect.
Travelers returning to Erie County should consider staying home when possible, and avoid close contact with older adults, individuals with chronic medical conditions, and unvaccinated people including children, for 10 days past their return from travel. Diagnostic testing is also recommended, 5-7 days past the last date of exposure or travel.
Updated New York State Travel Advisory guidance includes:
· Quarantine and testing are no longer required for asymptomatic domestic travelers as of April 1, 2021.
· Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations for international travel, is still recommended for domestic travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months.
· Restrictions on international travel are established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
· NYS Travel Form must continue to be filled out by all travelers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer considerations for before, during and after travel.
CDC – Travel during COVID-19
Per the CDC, if you must travel, take steps to protect yourself and others:
· If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
· Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
· Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public.
· Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you.
· Get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.