Survey shows most local residents not traveling for Thanksgiving, adhering to CDC guidance

Thursday, November 19, 2020
Local reaction to CDC's Thanksgiving travel guidance
Be it at the airport, on a train, or stopping at a gas station, the talk of the day is Thanksgiving Day travel.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Be it at the airport, on a train, or stopping at a gas station, the talk of the day is Thanksgiving Day travel.

"I'm staying put," said one airport traveler.

"Probably going to stay home here in Center City by myself," added a traveler at 30th Street Station.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now urging all Americans to do just that: stay home as cases and deaths from COVID-19 are rapidly increasing.

RELATED: CDC updates Thanksgiving guidance, recommends that Americans do not travel

Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on "Good Morning America" on Thursday.

The warnings appear to resonate with travelers in the tri-state area.

AAA reports a recent survey found 83% of Pennsylvanians say they are not traveling this year.

The percentages are even higher for New Jersey - 88% - and Delaware - 86%.

AAA also reports 40% of those questioned cited COVID-19 as their reason for staying put.

"That is unlike any other Thanksgiving holiday weekend," said AAA spokesperson Jana Tidwell.

Officials said in 20 years of tracking travel data, this is the first time we really won't have a sense of how many people may actually hit the road for the holiday.

"The economic data does not factor in a global pandemic," Tidwell said.

Amtrak also found it difficult to predict business during this normally busy time.

A spokesperson told Action News ridership remains at about 25% of pre-COVID levels, but it is expected to improve to about 40% by the end of their 2021 fiscal year.

Airports have also been hit hard by the pandemic.

Philadelphia International Airport officials said they've seen a 65% decline in travelers from October of last year to now.

PHL is however expecting some 300,000 passengers to pass through during the holiday weekend.

Airlines like American are working tirelessly to ensure travels feel safe and have options if plans change.

"We do know that these are unprecedented times and that is why we are providing unprecedented flexibility in travel," said Jim Moses, American Airlines Vice-President of Northeast Hubs & Gateways.

On Thursday, American Airlines showcased some of its touchless check-in features, enhanced cleaning, and tools at their disposal from specialized air to sanitizing sprayers for planes.

"We really wanted to show we want you to see that it is safe," Moses said.