CDC Director Says Unvaccinated Americans Should Not Travel for Labor Day Weekend

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also shared tips for those who do travel, encouraging everyone to wear masks and gather in an outdoor setting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising unvaccinated Americans to avoid travel ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend as cases in the United States continue to rise.

"First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a media briefing on Tuesday.

The warning comes as the country continues to see cases rise and the highly-contagious delta variant continue to spread. In the U.S., Walensky said the 7-day average of new cases is about 129,000. And the 7-day test positivity rate is 10.78%, according to the agency.

While the agency has said fully-vaccinated Americans can travel for the holiday weekend, Walensky noted that "given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take… these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling."

Packing for Labor Day Weekend
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For those who do hit the road for the Labor Day weekend, she also recommended against gathering indoors.

"First, if gathering with family and friends, remember that spending time outside with others who are vaccinated will help to prevent transmission," she said. "Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that the vast majority of transmission takes place among unvaccinated people in closed, indoor settings."

The CDC has previously recommended older travelers and those with underlying conditions avoid going on a cruise, even if they are fully vaccinated, and continually added more destinations to its highest "Level 4" travel advisory.

Additionally, Walensky advised all Americans to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Her recommendation comes as several cities and destinations have implemented indoor mask mandates, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Disney parks.

"As I've said before, masks are not forever, but they are for now," Walensky said. "Given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and the significant community transmission in this country, wearing a mask is the easiest way for anyone, regardless of your vaccination status, to slow the spread of disease."

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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