by: Nouran Salahieh and Gene Kang and Nexstar Media Wire
Posted: Nov 14, 2020 / 2:38 PM ESTUpdated: November 14, 2020 / 2:38 PM EST
(NEXSTAR / KTLA) – With coronavirus infections rising across the country, fewer Americans are expected to travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
According to a forecast by the Auto Club, travel traffic will decrease by at least 10% compared to the previous year. This is the biggest drop of a year since the 2008 recession. This is the end of an 11-year series of increasing travel volumes.
AAA expects nationwide Thanksgiving air traffic to decrease by nearly half compared to previous years. This year, 2.4 million travelers are expected.
While there will be fewer trips overall, AAA expects more drivers to hit the road than during this year’s summer vacation.
A larger percentage of travelers, 95%, are expected to use a car for vacation travel this year, compared to 89% in 2019. Still, the number of total car travelers is expected to decrease 4.3% to 47.8 million people .
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“The wait and see travel trend continues to affect final travel decisions, particularly for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement. “The decision to travel is a personal choice. For those considering travel, the majority will drive, which gives the flexibility to change vacation travel plans up to the day of departure. “
Although forecasters said traffic is expected to be less than in previous years, traffic bottlenecks for drivers in large urban areas are on the menu this holiday – especially the Wednesday afternoon before the holiday.
“This harvest festival will be different than in previous years. Rather than spending time indoors with friends and family, many people may choose to vacation with their own households and enjoy nature trips, ”said Doug Shupe, spokesman for AAA in Southern California.
Auto Club members have also contacted travel agents to book trips in 2021 and 2022 instead of planning distant vacation trips for that vacation, according to Shupe.
Due to travel restrictions in several countries, including European destinations, airlines have focused on domestic travel. United Airlines, for example, is adding more than 1,400 domestic flights during Thanksgiving Week and is expecting the busiest week since March – but still fewer trips than in previous years.
For those traveling this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing masks in all public facilities, being at least three feet away from others, washing hands regularly, and staying away from the sick.
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Travelers can enter their starting point and destination on the AAA website and click the Covid-19 Travel Restrictions button to view a list of requirements, including whether mask and quarantine mandates are enforced at the site. There is also a US map that shows which states have restrictions.
“Travel increases the likelihood of catching and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying at home is the best way to protect yourself and others, ”says the CDC.
For overnight travel, the CDC recommends first examining how widespread the virus is at the intended destination and making a plan of what to do if any person in the group becomes sick.
If the agency is exposed to the coronavirus while on vacation, the agency recommends staying home and away from others for 14 days while monitoring for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms. The CDC is also telling those affected to consider getting tested for the virus.