PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Despite warnings and pleas from health care officials, airports around the country were filled with Thanksgiving travelers. At Portland International Airport, travel is down 65% year-to-year, but this weekend was more crowded than any in the last few months.
People traveled all over the country despite the travel advisory that’s in effect for non-essential travel and warnings from health car workers about what the Thanksgiving travel could do to the already surging COVID case numbers.
“It may be the first time that folks have flown during the whole pandemic, particularly around the holidays,” spokesperson Kama Simonds told KOIN 6 News.
It wasn’t just PDX that was busy. According to FlightAware, Atlanta was the busiest airport for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Officials with PDX said they’re doing everything they can to keep both travelers and employees safe. They’re cleaning more, have plexiglass dividers in several area and plenty of signs reminding people to maintain social distance.
“It really looks different and what we’ve heard is that travelers are getting used to that way of travel and they’re appreciative of the efforts to keep both them, the travelers, and the employees safe,” Simonds said.
If you were among the travelers this holiday weekend, health officials want you to quarantine for 14 days after arrival.
Health officials say it’s important for everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“It is so important to really think of not just yourself, but of the whole community and there are employees working hard at the airport to keep you healthy and safe,” Simonds said. “You have a part to play in that, too, as a traveler, so wear your mask and stay 6 feet apart and travel safe.”
As far as people driving for the holiday, AAA estimates more than 47 million people nationwide traveled by car for the Thanksgiving weekend. That’s down roughly 10% compared to 2019.