42

Now is a bad time to travel, but not everybody has got the memo. In almost all places, the pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. The more we travel the worse it will get in the short run. Sad but true.

Can we have a big fat banner reminding people that right now there should be no non-urgent travel, and that if they're currently travelling, they should try to go home ASAP? Perhaps with links to common embassies or to a community wiki we can curate.

Of course people can still plan travel for the (far) future hoping the pandemic will be over by then, so armchair travelling is still fine, but we're seeing numerous questions which imply people are still trying to travel for fun "before the border closes". This can be literally deadly, and we should not facilitate this.

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    The mods cannot put up such a banner. Could you crossport to Meta.SE? IMO it could be put up on StackOverflow too. – JonathanReez Mar 18 at 14:15
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    @JonathanReez If there is community support we can tag it status-review, which I think nowadays means the mods get assigned to it. I wanted to gauge community support first. I think it's particularly relevant for Travel.SE, perhaps a few other sites too, perhaps less so for Stack Overflow. – gerrit Mar 18 at 14:30
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    I guess it's not a "big fat banner", but I just realized Academia has one. – Andrew T. Mar 26 at 5:34
  • Based on the fact that we're still getting questions about people travelling on holidays during this time (including one from someone showing symptoms!) I think we really need this banner. – Muzer Apr 2 at 9:33
40

In order to better gauge support by voting, it would be useful to have an answer that unambiguously says "yes, let's have a banner". Since at the time of writing we have one that says "no", and one that says "yes ... I'm not saying no ... but basically, no", here's a clear answer:

Yes, let's have a banner.

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    "yes ... I'm not saying no ... but basically, no" is a typical answer on this meta... It's hard to get straight answers. – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 22 at 7:56
  • @FranckDernoncourt I agree, but I think that reflects the fact that many questions here are complex, and do not admit of yes/no answers unless oversimplified. This one really does admit of a simple yes or no answer, so I thought it might be helpful to have one of those to vote for. – MadHatter Mar 23 at 7:38
15

I am fairly well convinced by JoErNanO's answer that a banner would probably stoke controversy.

I would suggest that a less controversial way of calling attention to the pandemic would be a banner saying "attention, there's a pandemic under way" and linking to the tag and/or to a small number of questions concerning the pandemic.

Rather than telling people what to do ("do not travel for fun"), which can come across as patronizing or pushy, we can call their attention to the risks of doing so and to the places where such travel is actually forbidden. Risks include not only risks to the health of travelers and the broader public but also financial and practical risks (for example, cancellation of transportation services, closing of public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants, and of course border closures).

By directing people to official sources of information about the circumstances under which their travel may be curtailed, we could help ensure that they are informed. They can then use that information to make their own decisions based on their own circumstances.

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9

I noticed https://academia.stackexchange.com/ has sort of a banner, that can be turned off by clicking the X mark at the right. Works on Chrome browser on PC, but not sure about mobile

May be something like that could be done here, with a link to some resources, like in the Academia version

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  • This is an interesting idea. Academia has been tracking useful resources in a meta "index" to help guide new users to commonly encountered problem/solutions. Of course they're also seeing an influx of "I have to teach online now but I've never done it before" sorts of users, whereas our visitors have more varied concerns. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Mar 31 at 14:43
3

I would love to place a visible banner somewhere on the site. Although I believe that we should have physical planes flying around the world pulling the banner saying "DO NOT TRAVEL" behind them, this is a highly controversial topic. I sometimes get the urge to yell "GO HOME" to the people casually strolling on the street where I live. However, some people believe that this quarantine hype is, well, just a hype and that such measures are not necessary, that governments are overdoing it, etc. Therefore, I think it will be hard to find community consensus on this issue.

I am not saying let's not do this. I am saying that it will be hard to agree, and even harder to deal with the aftermath of people coming on the site to perpetuate the never-ending debate on the righteousness of governmental policies.

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    Really? My answer here does not appear to be particularly controversial. I'm aware there is debate about a total quarantine, but that now is not a good time to travel (for fun) should be rather uncontroversial, whether due to the virus OR due to government responses to it? – gerrit Mar 18 at 16:21
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    @gerrit It's not controversial because I say so. It's controversial because people will believe what they want to believe. So right now my current country of residence is in lockdown and from my window I see families with kids on bicycles casually strolling towards the park. I have a friend in NZ on a gap year currently on his way to Thailand who doesn't believe he should stop travelling for a while. I believe in the Travel bans. Others do not. The point is: do we want to deal with the conspiratory debate that will follow once we place the banner? – JoErNanO Mar 18 at 16:43
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    People casually strolling on the street are not a threat to themselves or anyone else unless they are strolling in close proximity to someone else. The family on bicycles lives together, so they are threatening each other less than when they sit at home together. But sitting next to a stranger for a three to ten-hour plane flight, or fighting with strangers in a retail store is where the real dangers are. – WGroleau Mar 20 at 20:36
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    @JoErNanO Most countries have an explicit exception in their lockdown for leaving the house for health reasons. While this could narrowly be interpreted as "going to the doctor or picking up medication from the pharmacy", this generally is wider interpreted as "you can go for a health walk to the nearest park or in your neighborhood so your muscles don't atrophy and you can get some mental strength". – Nzall Mar 23 at 13:57
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    @Nzall Some countries actually allow both, as separate valid reasons to go out, e.g. France. There “health reason” means urgent medical need (you're not even allowed to go to a physician for something that's not urgent) but physical exercise close to your home is also allowed. – Relaxed Mar 24 at 9:28
3

Now there seems to be a banner.

COVID-19 banner

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-5

I would vote against it. It's not inappropriate to travel. It is inappropriate to have contact with others..eg social distancing.

Feel free to travel but do so in a way to minimize contact with others.

I mean if you're living with people you can have contact with them all of the time. As a group you can go places like parks. Take sanitation supplies for the bathroom, avoid talking with others.

Of course if you have any symptoms stay home.

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    "Of course if you have any symptoms stay home": yet asymptomatic people seem to be spreading the virus nonetheless. Traveling almost certainly implies more contact with others than not traveling (except for unusual measures like traveling with enough supplies and fuel not to have to interact with anyone). Therefore unnecessary travel is by definition not minimizing contact with others. – phoog Mar 27 at 21:40

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