Skyrocketing coronavirus cases are not stopping some people in San Diego and beyond from taking flight or hitting the road to visit loved ones for Christmas, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges Americans to refrain from traveling.
San Diego International Airport is anticipating about 20,000 passengers each day during what’s expected to be the two most traveled days during the holiday season – Dec. 23 and Dec. 27, according to Nicole Hall of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
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“We do it every year. We debated whether or not to do it this year but…traditions," said Bryan Simon, who was flying to Colorado. "We all got tested so they’re tested so we feel pretty safe about it.”
To keep travelers safe, San Diego International is taking extra precautions amid the pandemic.
“We have increased cleaning at high-frequency touch points, we have plexiglass screens at ticket counters, we have signage to encourage people to social distance,” Hall explained. “And also, in our seating, we have we have seat separators so people are not sitting within close distance of each other.”
One visitor who flew in to San Diego from Arizona said she followed rules while she was on board her flight.
“I wore my mask, I have my hand sanitizer so I think it’s pretty good to go," Stacie Barking told NBC 7.
The holiday travel comes as more COVID-19 cases are reported in Southern California. On Sunday, San Diego County reported a whopping 15% coronavirus testing positivity rate while its ICU capacity was at 19%.
As a result of the increasing virus cases, a travel advisory was issued in California that states anyone arriving in the Golden State, even those who are returning from elsewhere, “should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.” Meanwhile, Californians are encouraged to stay home and avoid non-essential travel.
Nationwide, the Transportation Security Administration will be screening about 1 million people daily, which is about less than half during a typical year. AAA estimates 84 million people across the country will travel in the coming days, though the majority seem to be planning to drive to their destinations.