For the past five years, the Citizens Bank Travel Club has enjoyed escorting its members to fascinating destinations across the region, the nation and around the world.
Many of the club’s monthly journeys have been simple day trips to experience plays, concerts, museums, art galleries, parks and historic sites. The Travel Club also hosts guests once each year on a major international adventure, plus a premium domestic journey.
Our travelers have been captivated by the splendor and history of magnificent sites in Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Outstanding domestic trips have included the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina; antebellum homes in Natchez, Miss.; and the Holland Tulip Festival in Michigan – with lodging at the extraordinary Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak brought all of that awesome travel to a sudden screeching halt.
The top priority of Citizens Bank and the Travel Club is to ensure the health and well-being of each of our nearly 600 members.
We suspended our 2020 schedule in March when it became obvious that the necessary requirements to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus would not at all accommodate the travel schedule we had planned.
Exactly when we will begin traveling again is uncertain.
Citizens Bank wants to reassure our members that we are continuing to closely monitor this rapidly evolving situation. We are reviewing guidance from the Arkansas Health Department, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. State Department, and other agencies.
We will individually assess all future tours and destinations before we determine when it will be safe to resume our monthly activities.
In hindsight, two dozen of our guests were extremely fortunate to have completed a wondrous trip exploring “Classic Italy by Rail” last fall – just before that country was inundated by rising flood waters, and then erupted as one of the world’s worst hotspots for the deadly Coronavirus outbreak.
We are also aware that a perennial favorite of many of our friends are visits to New York with tickets to multiple Broadway shows. Live theater performances were an early casualty of the COVID-19 outbreak, and many believe that January 2021 is the earliest likely reopening date.
Part of that decision has been the public’s hesitancy to return to Times Square because of the threat of viral infection.
A significant complicating factor is that theater audiences are largely populated by tourists and seniors, two groups who seem likely to more slowly return because they are seen as prime targets of the Coronavirus.
Live theater is just one example of how COVID-19 has disrupted the travel and entertainment industry. Also consider how tour buses normally transport 50 or more people in a very close and confined space – and then multiply that by the number of people who would be traveling on airliners!
There is no easy solution. We can only hope a vaccine is discovered sooner rather than later. We can also hope that the term “COVID” soon departs from our vocabulary.
Please stay safe. We look forward to traveling again with you.