I work for a U.S. based company, and recently my project has been sending people on business trips to another country (let's call it XYZ). Last week a few of my coworkers went there, this week the head of the overall project and another manager went there, and next week some more coworkers are going there.
Yesterday in a meeting, there was discussion about another trip to XYZ next month, and the project manager said "We'll be sending Jim, Joe, John, and maybe [my name] if you want". When she said "you" she was speaking to me, but since it wasn't a question and she continued without pausing, I didn't respond. It sounded like it would be optional for me to go next month. She said the purpose was to just introduce ourselves to the company that we are working with over there, because "face time is important". She said after that we would have weekly video conferences with the company.
There was also discussion of additional trips to XYZ in July. There is a much higher chance that they will ask me to go on at least one of those trips, since those trips involve components that I have worked on. The work to be done on those trips would probably be more easily performed on-site.
I looked up XYZ on the U.S. State Department web site, and they have a travel advisory for XYZ saying:
XYZ - Level 4: Do Not Travel
Do not travel to XYZ due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in XYZ due to crime and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk.
The State Department bolded those words, not me. And note that Level 4 is their highest warning level. In addition, I saw an article saying that up until a few weeks ago, XYZ had been rated at Level 3, and then it was raised to Level 4. So that means the situation there is getting worse.
In addition, the CDC web site says the following about XYZ:
Travelers should avoid all travel to XYZ.
Because of the current situation in XYZ even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to XYZ.
Sufficed to say, I do not want to travel to XYZ (which would involve getting on a plane) as the pandemic is far from over. But I fear it would be a very bad look for me if I tried to decline, considering many of my coworkers and some of the managers seem to have no problem going. Is there any way for me to decline a business trip to XYZ?