Due to the intensive labor required of preparing the home for Pesach, those who travel domestically or abroad for the Passover holiday view it as an essential activity, not merely leisure.
Many of these people, meanwhile, are already planning for Passover next year, looking to secure discounts or hotel room upgrades on Passover programs through early bookings. Along with that, many travelers will be looking to program operators for reassurances they are taking their safety seriously during an unprecedented and ongoing pandemic.
“At this point, for us personally, it’s about vaccinations and the cancellation policy,” one commenter on the Facebook group, Passover Program Reviews, said in an interview.
Fortunately, program operators are taking many precautions, include requiring proof of vaccinations, offering fair cancellation policies and keeping the size of the programs on the smaller side to allowing for social distancing.
Kosherica, an operators listed on the Passover Listings website, is holding one of its 2022 Passover program at the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas, and the company promises a socially distant setting on its expansive beaches, contactless check-in, staff testing and other strict safety precautions.
“We will monitor the situation very carefully and consult with our doctors to implement protocols, if necessary, to ensure that all guests are safe,” a Kosherica spokesperson said. “Our programs in 2022 are very spread out so you never feel the large crowds.”
Hafikoman, which operates a Pesach program in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is following guidelines set forth by Puerto Vallarta as well as the Marriott hotels. There will be signage throughout the hotel to remind guests to maintain social distancing, dining areas adhere to occupancy limits and enhanced cleaning protocols will be undertaken at the hotel.
Asked about specific steps the operator is implementing, a Hafikoman representative said: “It’s still early to say given the local regulations still being reinforced. It’s likely that vaccinated guests will not be forced to wear masks. However we are still expecting to keep assisted buffets, sanitation procedures and COVID testing. We will keep safety protocols to make the group as safe as possible. We had a very successful 2021 Passover without infections among guests or staff.”
Travelers can also inform themselves about safety measures. The website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines recommendations for those planning domestic or international travel, which may be useful for people planning to spend Pesach on a vacation program.
For domestic travelers, the CDC recommends being fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use before embarking on a trip. During travel, travelers are advised to wear a mask over their noses and mouths and to take other precautions, according to the CDC.
For those who will not be fully vaccinated by the time they board a flight for their U.S.-based Passover destination, the CDC recommends getting tested 1-3 days before travel and testing again 3-5 days after their travel. A several-day quarantine upon arrival at their destination is also recommended.
Passover programs are held in exotic international locations—from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Rome, Italy—and the CDC has travel recommendations for those traveling to destinations abroad, available at cdc.gov.
Passover Listings – which functions as a Yelp or TripAdvisor for Pesach programs — recommends kosher tour travelers obtain travel insurance prior to their holiday excursions. Travel Defend, which calls itself a “kosher travel insurance company,” partners with Travel Insured International, a leading travel insurance provider offering domestic and international trip protection services. The company provides travelers with insurance quotes and takes care of the paperwork, free of charge.
Why is insurance important? If, for example, your program requires a negative COVID-19 test within three days of arriving at the destination and someone in your family tests positive for COVID-19, having travel insurance allows you to file a claim for a full refund, covering the cost of the program as well as any travel expenses, according to Travel Defend.
Securing travel insurance is just one way of ensuring all goes smoothly. However one decides to spend their upcoming Passover holiday, they are encouraged to reach out to the program operators and ask about ways they are considering the safety of their guests.