Traveling has always come with complications, but the coronavirus pandemic has made it more challenging than ever. Our By The Way Concierge column will take your travel dilemmas to the experts to help you navigate the new normal. Want to see your question answered? Submit it here.
My niece’s wedding in New Orleans is this month. We would fly from Austin, rent a car and stay at a hotel. There will be about 50 people at the wedding, mostly from New Orleans, Memphis and South Florida. The wedding venue is outdoors; the rehearsal dinner is not. Most likely very few people will wear masks. We gathered there as a family in June for my father’s funeral, but right now feels riskier. Should we go? — Barbara, Austin
Your gut feeling is correct; it is risky to be traveling. Add a large gathering into that mix and it is exceptionally risky for yourself and others. Coronavirus hospitalizations are going up across the country, including in your home state of Texas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged people not to travel during this surge, but millions are still traveling this holiday season.
Because your trip is to New Orleans, I took your question to local New Orleans health experts, including Susan Hassig, an epidemiologist at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
“My epidemiologist self will say, no, they shouldn’t come to a