Treasures of Florence in February 2022 still attempting to go despite in past weeks:
Level 4 Travel Advisory for Italy - American citizens advised do not go! for any reason, and if you're in Italy, leave as soon as possible
Both OUTDOOR and Indoor mask mandates everywhere and
Mandatory KN95 masks in group settings
Although it's clear that RS desperately wants to not cancel, this trip is now not able to be run with safety or comfort or to RS standards.
Sure some people still want to go - we all want to travel - but WANT TO is not enough to override a Level 4 Travel Advisory and the pervasive reach of Covid.
RS needs to at least waive transfer-to-another-trip fees or penalties.
Forcing travelers to lose major money or go on an unsafe and uncomfortable trip when the world changes weeks before, is unethical, inappropriate and well, just plain wrong.
I understand the CDC making places level 4 BUT if only they would designate places in the US as "levels". I'm not sure where you are from but to me Italy looks much better than where I live (North Idaho). I think 5 may be the highest level and Idaho would have been a 5 from the get-go of the pandemic.
Italy - total vaccination rate as of Dec 22 - 85.4% and they've just started doing kids under 12. (lag time of updated stats due to holidays)
• Italy: vaccination rate COVID-19 age group 2021 | Statista (hilbert.edu)
As of Dec - total amount of Covid ICU cases in Tuscany - 61 (total area population 3.7 million)
• Italy: coronavirus patients in ICU by region 2021 | Statista (hilbert.edu)
My county in Idaho - 41% fully vaxxed - statewide I think it's about 50%
My county in Idaho - 45 people in ICU beds (total county population - about 170,000)
I'm giving you the link to the NY Times statistics dashboard. You may have to sign up with your email to access but I wanted to show you what I was using for reference as it's better than the piecemeal websites.
I am watching Europe carefully as I've got an international program in Belgium and The Netherlands for April. At the current time The Netherlands has a 10 day quarantine in place for anyone arriving from the US which will be impossible to manage. Plus they announced it 12/29 during the day to go into effect at 00:01 on 12/30 so no notice was given. I was able to hit a good travel bubble in the Fall before Omicron and did a program in France. It was not required but I wore an N95 mask ALL the time - indoors, outdoors, on the RS bus. I took enough masks to cover me for my entire trip plus a few extra.
I'm not being dismissive of your concerns and I would also say each person has to evaluate their own travel risk. Traveling during a pandemic IS taking a risk and not everyone can do it. I'd also say to look further into the data to evaluate on your own as to what the situation is on the ground in certain areas.
Hope we all get to travel freely soon!
Level 4 is the highest.
We're thrilled you're joining this program to Italy!
At this time your program is scheduled to operate as planned.
We plan to operate any program that we can deliver the quality experience that we promised. We will cancel a program if there are restrictions imposed that would impact our group or if we can no longer visit a major highlight.
We have been in consultation with an infectious disease medical expert who has reviewed all of our safety policies and protocols.Our Health & Safety Roadmap: https://www.roadscholar.org/practical-information/general-health-safety/safety-protocols/.
We will continue to offer and run programs in countries designated level 4 if:
Please feel free to call us at 877-426-8056 or email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.