COVID-19 new normal: Travelers may need health certificate -- here's what could change

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We're used to carrying around a passport when we travel internationally, but how about domestically? A passport-like health certificate is just one of the changes that may be ahead.

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James Canton calls himself a futurist -- someone that looks ahead to upcoming trends.

He runs a San Francisco-based think tank called Institute for Global Futures.

"You're going to have to carry a proof of health certificate, a digital certificate, that will be on your watch or on your phone," said Canton.

You may be asked to show that certificate when entering a mall or before boarding a plane. Tourist attractions may require it, places like amusement parks. Even entire cities and countries, he predicts.

"If I'm carrying the right proof of health status on my wearable, I'm just going to walk right through, everything's cool. If I have a fever, it's going to be yellow," Canton said.

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Canton says he knows for a fact that several companies are racing to develop such a system.

The U.S. Travel Association has developed a guide in an effort to get everything back on track.

"Every month we can shorten recovery is $25 billion to the travel industry and 300,000 jobs," said Roger Dow, President of the Association.

He foresees a number of changes.

"You'll be wearing masks when you go into a hotel. You'll most likely see a lot of touchless things -- how your credit card is handled. Is there a plastic screen between you and the person you're dealing with? Are your utensils in a sealed box or container?" predicted Dow.

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Get used to Highway 1 or I-5. "Staycations," he predicts, will be back in vogue.

He doesn't expect international travel to come back for another year.

Large conventions will be replaced by smaller meetings.

And travelers can expect empty middle seats on planes and even barriers between seats.

But Dow anticipates travel roaring back in 2021.

"The cruise industry is telling me their bookings for 2021 are very strong," said Dow.

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Canton, however, thinks travel overall will be back sooner than even that, because socializing is part of the human DNA.

"People will feel comfortable socializing because they've been vetted by an infrastructure, a biosecurity infrastructure," he said.

Canton even foresees the day when an app warns you when a sick person is approaching and sends you on a different path to ensure safe distancing.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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