Holiday travel raises concerns for many amid COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Stockton University student Amber Arizmendi is like many who have concerns during holiday travels with the fear of infecting family members amid COVID-19.

Arizmendi is returning to Battle Creek, Michigan, where she intends to stay with her parents.

"My only concern is bringing COVID home," said Arizmendi. "I'm trying to be as careful as I can."

Catherine Mhloyi of New York City is heading to see her family in Delaware.

She cleared a rapid COVID-19 test before hopping on the AMTRAK train bound for 30th Street Station.

"I'm a little worried, but I'm going to get tested as soon as I get there, and we will be isolating," said Mhloyi.

Christmas travel comes as Bucks County officials pleaded with the public to eliminate gatherings for celebrations or dinners with people outside their households.

"What we were seeing in contract tracing is that people were getting the virus from people they knew. It was families and friends," said Dr. David Damsker, Bucks County Health Director.

Bucks Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo said, "Many of these sacrifices and restrictions are meant so that our hospitals will not get overwhelmed. So we have to make these decisions, especially around the holiday."

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Jana Tidwell says the organization expects holiday travel will be much lighter than last year.

Air travel is predicted to be down 54%, and road travel down by 30%.

Tidwell says many of those polled say they feel safer traveling by car since they can control the environment.

Philadelphia International Airport is offering COVID-19 testing for passengers and instituted protocols to enhance social distancing and cleanliness inside the terminals.

But what happens at home after the traveling, when people put down their guards and their masks that worry health officials.

Jack Teixeira says he's nervous about returning home from college in Chicago, but his parents insisted.

His Christmas celebration will be quieter this year to heed health official's warnings.

"It'll be just my parents and my sister and the dogs. Usually, I have an older sister who comes and visits, but she's not doing it this year," said Teixeira.
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