After a long year of social distancing and staying local, travel is on the horizon as COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to climb. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their guidance to say that fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without getting tested for COVID-19 or needing to quarantine. While the CDC’s updated travel guidance isn’t an unqualified green light – CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky urges caution and still advises against general travel at the moment – the forward motion of Americans getting vaccinated has many planning their next trips.
American National Standards (ANS) and members of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have long supported travel of all kinds. This summer, many people are choosing recreational vehicles (RVs) as a means of traveling while keeping away from crowds. ANSI member the RV Industry Association (RVIA) offers resources for manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, and other stakeholders in the RV industry, including advocacy with federal and state lawmakers, research and data on the industry, and a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards education program. Additionally, numerous standards guide RVs and their components. One such ANS is ANSI Z21.57, Recreational Vehicle Cooking Gas Appliances, developed by ANSI member CSA Group, which offers test and examination criteria for surface cooking, oven cooking, or broiling appliances in an RV.
As conditions continue to approve, flying across the country to see family, friends, or simply a new environment may be on the agenda. Standards and other resources support the safety of airports for concerns beyond the pandemic. NFPA 424, Guide for Airport/Community Emergency Planning, is an ANS developed by ANSI audited designator NFPA. The guide informs airport authorities of current emergency planning techniques and procedures. These guidelines support effective delivery of emergency services in the event of an aircraft-related emergency.
While the cruise industry has been hit hard by the restrictions of the pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel for avid cruisers. The CDC has formed a conditional plan to allow cruise ships into U.S. ports and is working with the cruise industry to follow a phased approach, although it has not yet announced when cruise lines can start sailing. Once cruises resume, standards will continue to support their safe and sustainable operation. ISO 16304, Ships and marine technology – Marine environment protection – Arrangement and management of port waste reception facilities, is an international standard that provides a method for addressing ship-generated waste and cargo residues. It was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 8, Ships and marine technology, Subcommittee (SC) 2, Marine environment protection. ANSI holds the secretariat to this SC. ANSI government member the U.S. Coast Guard is the ANSI-approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to TC 8 and SC 2, carrying U.S. positions forward to the committee.
International travel may carry additional risks as the world grapples with the pandemic, but those seeking foreign experiences may get a taste of what they’re looking for with virtual travel. Australia, South Africa, and many other countries have launched online exhibitions where visitors can explore new destinations from the safety of their home. International and American National Standards support the technology needed for virtual tourism, including these standards developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC):
· IEC 61747, Liquid Crystal Display Devices, which guides the LCD technology found in televisions, computers, and other flat-panel displays. This standard was developed by IEC TC 110, Electronic Displays. The Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA), an ANSI member and accredited standards, serves as the U.S. National Committee (USNC)-approved TAG Administrator to IEC TC 110.
· IEC 60268-7, Sound system equipment – Part 7: Headphones and earphones, which is applicable to headsets, headphones, and similar devices that individuals may use to participate in virtual experiences. IEC's TC 100, Audio, video, and multimedia systems and equipment, Technical Area (TA) 20, Analogue and digital audio, developed the standard. ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is the USNC-approved TAG administrator for TC 100.
To learn more about travel safety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, see CDC’s page on domestic and international travel.