Dear Travel Partner - As you are likely aware, instances of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) continue to increase worldwide, even as the situation in mainland China continues to improve. There are indications, supported by various government entities and experts that the spread of the virus is likely to continue … mostly tied to prior international travel and/or the resulting exposure to other infected travelers. Classic Travel & Tours continues to monitor the most up-to-date information through various websites (CDC and WHO) as well as direct communications from worldwide travel suppliers. We will continue to update you as the situation warrants, but please know that we are also available to answer any specific questions that you may have relative to your future travel arrangements made with our firm. Classic Travel & Tours is here to assist, support, and advocate on your behalf whenever possible. The information below represents the most updated at our disposal, but understand that the Coronavirus situation is constantly evolving. We anticipate that we will be providing more frequent updates now that the virus seems to be gaining footholds in more countries and population centers. Currently, the U.S State Department has issued the following travel advisories: Level 4: Do Not Travel – China, Iran, and Lombardy and Veneto in Italy Level 3: Reconsider Travel – South Korea, other parts of Italy Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution – Japan, Hong Kong Our recommendation: In keeping with the State Department guidelines, we are recommending that clients with travel reservations to any of the above areas for travel dates between today and March 31st, 2020 strongly reconsider the postponement of travel to a later date. Travel to these destinations that is scheduled after April 1, 2020 should be evaluated closer to the date of departure, when specific airline schedules and waivers are updated accordingly. Airlines Schedules and Future Waivers: Several of the US based, mainline carriers are adjusting schedules to match risk and current demand. On the positive side, many have announced waivers of their customary “change fees” (the charges applied by the airline when a non-refundable ticket is changed) for new tickets issued during a certain date range. This allows our clients to continue to formulate travel policies that reflect updated risks but continue to plan future travel to destinations where risks are deemed acceptable for employee travel. Our recommendation: For domestic US travel, both the government and experts continue to characterize the travel risks as “low.” Clearly, their recommendations around good sanitary practices apply to situations where there are large gatherings (airports, airplanes, etc.) and we further encourage maintaining distance from others wherever possible. Corporate “Duty of Care” considerations: The Coronavirus situation and progression is yet another example of the need for a corporate awareness around “risk policies” for employees that travel on corporate business. Civil unrest, acts of terrorism, weather events, etc. are all situations that require (sometimes) instantaneous access to employee travel data and geolocation. Classic Travel & Tours “SafeToGo" solution can satisfy many of these corporate needs to identify and mitigate risks, or provide near real-time access to employee location in emergency situations. In addition, we offer corporate medical evacuation insurance products that provide “on the ground” emergency medical evacuation in the event of unexpected health or injury circumstances in locales with less than ideal healthcare services available. We remain at your service while the extent and impact of the Coronavirus on travel continues to evolve. We are happy to share our advice on travel policy modifications that might be prudent given the current circumstances. Clearly, we are here to assist your travelers that need to modify and/or cancel previously booked itineraries. Please know that your safety and well-being is our top priority.
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