ORLANDO, Fla. – The Thanksgiving trip began at Orlando International Airport the day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines against vacation travel.
With the coronavirus spiraling out of control, the country’s top health authority urged Americans not to spend vacations with people outside their household.
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Tabitha James and her husband were among the thousands of passengers who boarded a flight in Orlando on Friday.
“We were tested before we left to make sure we were fine so no one would get sick,” she said. “If I was sick, I would have stayed home.”
James said the surge in cases was worrying but planned to be with her family for Thanksgiving despite the CDC’s new warning.
“I want my family to be there,” she said. “We’re just going to try to practice all the things you’ve been taught. Social distancing, hand sanitizing, wear your mask. That’s the best we can do. “
From Friday through December 1, those in charge at Orlando International Airport said they plan to see the highest number of passengers since the pandemic began.
During the Thanksgiving trip, airport officials warned that the lines might be long, but not as you remember them.
“Sometimes the line seems longer because of this social distancing, the extra space between guests,” said Brian Engle, director of customer experience.
Travelers may also notice fewer fellow passengers, as TSA data shows airport travel has fallen 74% since May and cases continue to rise across the country.
“People used to book three months, but due to COVID-19, it’s sometimes a week now,” said Engle. “They will wait and see what the numbers are as long as they are.”
For anyone looking to join others for Thanksgiving Day, the CDC recommends wearing a mask when not eating, staying three feet apart, and keeping windows open.
The busiest Thanksgiving travel day at Orlando International Airport is expected to be November 29th with 44,347 travelers.
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