PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The White House this week announced sweeping new guidelines meant to combat an expected surge of coronavirus cases, among them, the recommendation to avoid “discretionary travel.” But many people are opting to keep their travel plans.
Many travelers at Portland International Airport told KOIN 6 News they don’t want to get on an airplane right now but being with loved ones is more important.
“We felt an urge to be with our elderly parents,” said Shannon Allen, a local resident flying to Salt Lake City from Portland International Airport. “They are getting close to 80 and we want to make sure if they need things we can get them and keep them inside.”
Others said that traveling on a plane was inevitable and that it would be best to simply get it over with before conditions potentially worsen.
“I changed my flight to come home earlier just because I wasn’t sure where things would be next week they changed so quickly,” said Kimberly Cruzmann who flew in from Phoenix. “I have a lot of medical professionals in my family. There’s increased risk on the plane and in crowds.”
College kids are also coming home early as universities make adjustments. Vancouver resident Frank Ulrich was at PDX on Wednesday to travel to his son.
“We are actually flying down to get him and drive him back home,” Ulrich said.
PDX has made adjustments to its non-flight operations to abide by the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the latest batch of restrictions ordered by Governor Kate Brown. To comply with the restaurant restriction, the airport has updated the seating arrangement in the food courts and public areas of Concourses C and D to promote social distancing.
The airport has also temporarily closed its USO facility, PDX Conference Center and children’s play areas.
As far as PDX staff, employees who can work remotely have been asked to do so.
If you do plan on flying out, it’s a good idea to double-check your itinerary with your airline as some flights are being canceled.