PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s busy at Portland International Airport. In fact, officials said Monday is the busiest day of the holiday season for them.
PDX will serve nearly a half-million fliers in the final weeks of 2021, nearly twice the number of travelers from last year’s pandemic-squashed travel season. However, it’s still about 100,000 fewer travelers through PDX than before the pandemic began.
Port of Portland officials said the peak travel days are December 20 and December 27, each with abou 49,000 travelers expected.
But with news of an impending surge of omicron variant cases spreading through Oregon, a PDX spokesperson Kama Simonds said they will have the same security precautions as they have for the whole pandemic, including a mask requirement, social distancing and more cleaning.
“Every person travelling is making a decision based off what’s best for them and their family,” Simonds said. “The airport continues to practice all the health and safety measures we have through the whole pandemic.”
There is also a testing site out in front of the airport.
Passengers who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they have limited concern about the omicron variant.
“I am (concerned) but we’ve both taken all 3 shots and my relatives have taken all the shots,” said a woman named Jolene. “So, we feel like we’ve done all we can.”
She said she and her family were heading to San Diego.
“We’re going to visit my brother and we are seeing him for the first time in two years because we’ve been quarantining, and they had a kid and we had a kid, they’ll meet for the first time,” she said. “So, we’re really excited.”
KOIN 6 News asked airlines if they’re experiencing more cancellations than expected. Southwest Airlines sadi they have nothing new to report.
Last Friday, Gov. Kate Brown encouraged Oregonians to get vaccinated and get boosted as soon as possible. Brown said she and her team were meeting over the weekend about next steps to take.
“While the Governor has stated that all options are on the table as we face a new surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations, her focus right now is on addressing the needs of our most vulnerable Oregonians,” Brown’s press secretay Liz Merah said in a statement to KOIN 6 News.
She also noted the governor demobilized the National Guard last week from hospitals across the state but she’s willing to re-activate them if necessary.
“But, the Governor hopes that Oregonians will do their part so we can delay calling back the guard entirely or for as long as possible,” Merah said.
OHA Director Patrick Allen compared the upcoming wave of omicron infections to a tsunami, and said the state has about 3 weeks to prepare.