Photo Credit: Getty Images
Why 'Travel Bubbles' May Be The First Step To Resuming International Travel
The latest plan for countries opening their borders is to have a ‘travel bubble.’ Australia and New Zealand have announced this idea which would let travelers inside the bubble travel while keeping the coronavirus out. However, it could get complicated for other countries to implement a ‘travel bubble.’
The idea of having a ‘travel bubble’ would be beneficial to businesses and the economy while limiting the number of new coronavirus cases. Since the announcement that Australia and New Zealand would be taking a ‘travel bubble’ approach, officials in New Brunswick, Canada have announced that it’s residents “can create a small bubble by picking one other household to interact with,” reports The New York Times.
Starting bubbles between states could be a great start to getting people to feel comfortable with traveling, stimulating the economy, and keeping the infection rates down. So far, the governors of California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington are working on reopening their states while trying to stop the spread of coronavirus. Having a travel bubble between those states could be successful, but it has not been confirmed if this is something in the works as yet.
Cam Winton, a lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney, spoke with The New York Times on whether or not ‘travel bubbles’ are legal. “If any states created a bubble to keep out residents of disfavoured states, the action would be open to challenge that the bubble violated U.S. Constitutional principles of equal treatment. Those principles are enshrined in the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the so-called Dormant Commerce Clause, which prohibits states from putting undue burdens on interstate commerce,” says Winton.
States can, however, take the temperature of travelers entering the state without being discriminatory, as long as every traveler entering has their temperature checked.
Although states haven’t implemented ‘travel bubbles,’ certain areas have. For example, the Keys in Florida has had two checkpoints at the Florida Keys Overseas Highway and since March 22nd, has only allowed residents or workers in the area to enter the islands.
Key West reopened beaches and parks for locals this week but only residents were allowed to enter.
Teri Johnston, the mayor of Key West says, “Historically we’ve had day-trippers come then leave, but Miami-Dade County is a hot spot with a lion’s share of cases, so what we’re trying to do is only allow essential services into the Keys and say that the beach is open only for locals to get out a few hours a day to get sun. Our residents want to know that we aren’t relaxing orders in a way that would bring visitors to our island until it is safe for that.”
Another example is residents in Colorado are only allowed to recreationally travel 10 miles away from their homes under the “Safer at Home” policy put in place by Governor Jared Polis. Polis is also advising residents to stay in their respective counties for essential travel. This creates bubbles within each county in Colorado.
While the ‘travel bubble’ may work in countries like Australia and New Zealand, it’s hard to say yet if it could work in the U.S., especially since we are currently the country with the most COVID-19 cases in the world.