Travel increases your risk of getting COVID-19 and infecting others. For this reason, the California Department of Public Health asks that you limit your travel during the pandemic.

On this page you will find:

Why travel is risky

When you travel, you spend more time outside your home and come into contact with people outside your household. You are near new people in airports, train stations, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, short-term rentals, sightseeing attractions, and retail stores. These new people may be exposing you to COVID-19, or you may be unknowingly exposing them. People arriving in California from other states or Californians returning from other states or countries could also introduce new sources of infection (potentially including new strains of the coronavirus) to California. This contributes to community spread of the disease, which leads to more illness and death. 

Hospitals in our state are critically low in available ICU beds, so it’s important that we do all we can to take fewer risks and not spread COVID-19.

Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Read CDPH’s Travel Advisory for more information.

What’s considered essential travel

Some travel is considered essential and necessary. “Essential travel” is travel associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or otherwise required or expressly authorized by law (including other applicable state and local public health directives), including:

  • Critical infrastructure (like the water supply or power grid)
  • Economic services (like banking)
  • Supply chains (like food distribution)
  • Health care and immediate medical care
  • Safety and security
  • Work and study

Current travel recommendations

Californians should remain local (not traveling more than 120 miles from their home or other place of residence) and avoid non-essential travel. Travelers from other states or countries entering into California for tourism and recreation are strongly discouraged.

Currently, California restricts the following in counties under the Regional Stay at Home Order:

  • Hotels and short-term rentals (including any reservations made through third-party venues and platforms)
    • May accept reservations if the traveler is using the lodging in connection with COVID-19 mitigation, containment, and treatment measures, as accommodation for essential workers or those displaced by fire or other emergency, or for individuals or families who have no other primary residence (including individuals who would otherwise experience homelessness).
  • Campgrounds 
    • Closed except for use in connection with COVID-19 mitigation, containment, and treatment measures, as accommodation for essential workers or those displaced by fire or other emergency, or for individuals or families who have no other primary residence (including individuals who would otherwise experience homelessness).

Questions and answers