Fact Finders: Can snowbirds stick to their travel schedule with stay-at-home orders?

Can stay-at-home orders in other states keep winter visitors from heading home?
Can stay-at-home orders in other states keep winter visitors from heading home?(Source: KOLD News 13)
Updated: Apr. 1, 2020 at 9:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As the seasons change in Southern Arizona, so does the population.

The Sonora Desert is consistently a top destination for winter visitors. In the first week of October, thousands of winter visitors descend on Tucson and a second wave of snowbirds arrives in January for the high season.

As we head into April, many usually pack up and head home.

The KOLD News 13 Fact Finders received several emails from self-proclaimed ‘snowbirds’ asking if they can make it to their home base with stay-at-home orders in more than 30 states, including this one:

“I’m a healthy snow-bird that needs to drive back to home state, like many others. That means driving through several states that have issued various orders related to Covid 19. For me, such travel would generally mean driving state through and only stopping for gas. Can prohibit a non-resident US citizen from driving on US highways though that state (NM, TX, OK, KS, MO, IA etc.)? Which ones? An occasional hotel will be needed, can that be prohibited?”

The answer is a tricky one, because stay-at-home orders can mean different things in different states. For the majority of the country, the orders all call for their communities to limit travel to essential businesses that can remain open.

Right now, the only travel advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in the northeast. With the domestic travel advisory, the CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.

While some Governors have discouraged travel across state lines, the officials can’t technically stop it.

In Texas, every person who enters the state through roadways from Louisiana will be subject to the mandated 14-day self-quarantine. DPS said there will be an increased law enforcement presence along the Texas/Louisiana border.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued a travel advisory, asking everyone entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms of Covid-19.

Officials in Florida have now begun stopping drivers at its borders with Alabama and Georgia. Rhode Island is also ordering all visitors to self-quarantine.

Gas stations are considered essential businesses and here in Arizona, so are hotels and motels. Travelers will want to be aware that some businesses are opting to limit restroom use to customers because of the virus.

There may also be curfews for places you are stopping in or driving through, so you’ll want to be aware of those plans ahead of time.

The CDC wants you to consider these things before you travel:

- Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?

- Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?

- Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19?

- Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?

President Trump has said you should avoid non-essential travel, but said a nationwide travel ban seems “unlikely" at this time during a press conference on Wednesday, April 1.

You can submit a question for the KOLD News 13 Fact Finders here.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.