Is it unethical to travel right now? A popular Reddit thread is discussing this topic right now and it has (unsurprisingly) produced some very polarized opinions. We highlight a few and weigh in the discussion.
Coronavirus infections are on the rise again. News reports about highlighting the stresses being once again placed on hospitals. People are clearly experiencing pandemic fatigue. They miss their loved ones. They are tired of wearing masks. Many are tired of the easily-found examples of hypocrisy in their leaders. Oh yeah…and conspiracy theories still abound.
Is it unethical to travel right now?
Most states and governments are still strongly suggesting that people avoid non-essential travel (leisure travel), but aside from a few countries (like Greece, who have to text the government to even leave their homes), there are still few travel bans in place on non-essential travel.
The subreddit /SoloTravel is asking this very question right now and the opinions, much like most of the United States these days, are polarized. Here’s the initial question where /killthenerds gets the conversation going.
Then the fun begins.
First, a few innocuous comments.
Then it picks up.
A few more measured responses suggest it is unwise to travel right now.
The conversation pretty much devolves after this point. So much so that the subreddit is now closed for further comments. You can see the full thread here.
So, is it unethical?
In the early days of the pandemic, many countries implemented near-total travel bans and implemented mass quarantines. So much was still unknown about the coronavirus at the time and many (probably rightfully so) made a compelling case that it was unwise and probably unethical to travel at that time.
However, now, much more is known about this illness. Treatments and therapies are far more successful, fatality rates have declined and it’s now factually known that simply wearing a face mask dramatically reduces your chances of contracting the virus – even on a plane.
Here at the CBoardingGroup we’ve traveled a few times during the pandemic, both for work and pleasure. We’ve done both air travel and road trips (to be clear, we are definitely not traveling anywhere near as much by at least 80%). We were incredibly responsible each time, wearing masks, washing hands, wiping down surfaces, socially distancing, etc. No issues whatsoever and we never contracted the virus. We also felt relatively safe too. Was it unethical?
In our opinion, that’s a definite no. In fact, a case could be made that traveling is an ethical thing TO DO, given the massive devastation wreaked on the travel industry with countless numbers of jobs lost. We are confident making this statement for the following reasons:
- The risk of death is very low
- Travel (particularly air travel and road trips) are very safe – if you follow the rules
- We are not in a high-risk category
- We explicitly follow the rules including socially distancing and wearing masks – we also go a bit anal on the hand sanitizer and wiping surfaces down
- If we don’t travel the industry will collapse and we believe playing even a small role in propping up this industry is important
- When we return, we follow the rules by self quarantining, testing, mask-wearing, etc
Definition of unethical
According to MW, unethical is, “not conforming to a high moral standard: morally wrong.” Other definitions include:
- not morally correct (Google)
- lacking moral principles; unwilling to adhere to proper rules of conduct. not in accord with the standards of a profession (Dictionary.com)
Google says that “morals” are defined as, “concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.”
In our opinion, it is NOT unethical to travel right now. It may be unwise (perhaps), but unethical? Yeah, no.
What say you? Weigh in below!