Millions ignore COVID-19 warning, travel for Thanksgiving weekend

Thursday, November 26, 2020
Many traveling for Thanksgiving despite COVID-19 guidelines
Many nationwide are traveling for Thanksgiving despite COVID-19 guidelines. Christie Ileto has more from those on the move in the Philly region.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Despite warnings from health officials, some people are traveling ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Public health officials have said they are worried about crowding at airports and what it could mean for the surge of COVID-19 cases. Roughly 300,000 people are expected to pass through Philadelphia International Airport this week.

The TSA says nearly 4 million Americans passed security checks since the weekend.

"We left Virginia at 11 a.m. to get to New Jersey and we aren't there yet," said Sally and Jim Turley who are sticking to their holiday plans and chose to drive.

Airlines like American said they have touchless check-in features and enhanced cleaning as well as options for travelers if plans should change.

RELATED: Keep holiday celebrations 'small and smart,' U.S. Surgeon General pleads

At 30th Street Station in Philadelphia Wednesday morning there weren't many people walking around or waiting for a train. It's a very different feel than previous years on the day before Thanksgiving. A spokesperson said passengers must wear a mask inside the station and on the train and all trains are getting cleaned prior to departure.

Nonetheless, health officials are recommending that travelers stay home this Thanksgiving.

"We've given people plenty of warnings that they should have their Thanksgiving meal with their household members only, the people they're exposed to every day. But there were warnings for Halloween and we still saw a spike in cases after Halloween parties," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

It seems some people are heeding those warnings. AAA surveyed people in the Delaware Valley about whether they planned to travel this Thanksgiving holiday.

While not quite as busy as years past, Philadelphia International Airport was bustling Wednesday morning ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The results show that 83% of Pennsylvanians, 88% of New Jersey residents and 86% of Delaware residents who responded are planning to stay home.

More than 40% of those who responded said COVID was a factor in their holiday plans.