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CORONAVIRUS: Local travel agency sees uptick in travel insurance, but people aren’t canceling trips

Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 20:21:35-05

SALT LAKE CITY – With the spring break travel season in our midst, fear of coronavirus has led some Utahns to cancel trips in country and abroad, but one travel agency says they are seeing an uptick in travel insurance purchases, not cancelations.

It was business as usual for travelers at Salt Lake International Airport Tuesday.

Their bags were packed, their flights were on time – but, there was still one thing on most of their minds.

“There’s a lot of viruses going around and stuff,” said Spencer Scott, a concerned friend dropping his buddy at the airport.

Coronavirus.

“I feel like I’m prepared, we got our hands on some hand sanitizer before it got really crazy expensive, and we’ve got our Lysol wipes,” said Stephanie Jaggi as she stood next to her two young children and all of their suitcases. “I’m probably more concerned with the airplane itself, just because there’s always so many more germs, other than actual coronavirus.”

For these travelers and many others in the United States, COVID-19 is a very real but low-risk concern.

“I’m a little nervous, like it’s on my mind, but you know, I don’t think I’m going to get sick… I hope not,” said Will Daniels as he got ready for his flight to Southern California.

Dozens of people continued to line up near one another as they approached security.

But, when asked one-by-one, ‘would you cancel your trip over concerns of coronavirus,’ FOX 13 was met by a resounding, ‘No.’

“I mean it’s not here in the U.S yet,” traveler Zach Novak said.

Turns out, they’re not alone.

“They didn’t choose to change their travel plans and we’re finding a lot of people aren’t because it’s time they’ve taken away from work, it’s time they’ve been looking forward to with their family, it’s spring break and you only have that once a year,” said Jennifer Dunyon, the Executive Vice President of local travel company, Get Away Today.

Every year, Dunyon and her associated plan thousands of getaways for Utah families. As coronavirus concerns have escalated, so have their clients’ travel concerns.

“We do get questions, you know people are saying, ‘Is it safe to go?’” Dunyon said. “I’ve been monitoring it really closely, if anything we’ve had concerns, but no one actually canceling yet.”

Dunyon said, because of the virus, the company has noticed altered buying habits.

“People booking right now, they’re opting to add on travel insurance, more than usual,” Dunyon said. “We are seeing an uptick in that.”

However, the result hasn’t changed.

“A lot of people are just saying, ‘Hey, I choose travel, I choose memories,” said Dunyon.

While Utahns are still traveling, most already at the airport just hope the person next to them is as hygienic as they are.

“Cover their mouth, cough into their elbow,” Novak said.

“I just want people to wash their hands and be cautious, I think if they are sick, they need to wear masks,” Jaggi added.

Current health and travel advisories can be found online.