According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an employer may ask its employees to stay home until it’s clear they don’t have the coronavirus if they have traveled to certain locations flagged by the C.D.C. or local health officials. New Hampshire, for instance, encourages employers to ask employees if they have made any nonessential trips outside of the state and a few surrounding states. Employees who have must quarantine at home for two weeks before returning to work. They can cut that period short if, on their seventh day back, they are asymptomatic and take a test that comes back negative.
Ask your employer if post-travel quarantine would fall under paid sick leave. You may be eligible for it under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, an emergency measure passed in March by the federal government. But the act covers only two weeks of paid sick leave to eligible employees, and it may be of better use in the event that you contract the virus. Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., have laws that require paid sick leave for eligible employees, but you should research whether quarantine qualifies for paid leave under those specific laws.
If you have to return to work immediately after your trip and don’t have the option of telecommuting, you may want to consider canceling your plans. Similarly, if your children have been attending school in person, check if they will be allowed back in the classroom if you travel.
Secure essentials …
If you will have to quarantine for two weeks after your trip, stock up on groceries, hygiene products and other essentials before traveling (and be aware that some retailers are putting limits on items that proved hard to get during the early days of the pandemic, like toilet paper and paper towels). It never hurts to have plenty of shelf staples in your kitchen. If you can secure an advance delivery time, set up deliveries with online services like Instacart, Shipt or AmazonFresh to have groceries delivered from local stores upon your return. Or use food delivery apps like Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats, which are available in hundreds of cities.
… and entertainment.
Think of how you’re going to unwind and fight off cabin fever. Plenty of classic holiday movies, including “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Elf,” are available to stream online.
While the internet offers no shortage of shows, movies, TikTok videos and the like, you may want to have analog distractions to get a break from screens. Order a few books online that can greet you at your doorstep when you return. Buy puzzles to solve with your whole family. Children may enjoy creating holiday-themed arts and crafts projects — order kits ahead of time. And board games like Risk and Dungeons & Dragons can keep you busy for hours.
During the pandemic, Kristin Addis, the chief executive of Be My Travel Muse, a company that helps women travel solo, has quarantined at home in Nevada a few times after visiting French Polynesia, Mexico and Aruba. She passed the time by practicing yoga and Pilates and video chatting with friends and family. “I kind of do the things that I did during lockdown to stay sane,” she said.