WASHINGTON – Thanksgiving travel is expected to be down sharply this year because of COVID-19, but as many as 50 million Americans are still expected to travel this week despite pleas from health experts to stay home.
And those people who do travel could run into a bewildering array of restrictions when they reach their destinations, experts say.
“It is important to know the risks involved and ways to keep yourself and others safe,” the AAA said in its annual Thanksgiving travel outlook. “In addition to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance, travelers should also be aware of local and state travel restrictions, including testing requirements and quarantine orders.”
The AAA forecast predicts an overall decline of at least 10% in holiday travelers, from 55 million last year to just over 50 million this year.
But that’s still a lot of people and officials are making changes to accommodate safe travel in a time of COVID-19.
“We have encouraged our business partners to establish touchless applications where possible and we encourage travelers to use mobile boarding passes wherever possible,” said Greg Roybal, a spokesman for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Sky Harbor announced a partnership Monday with XpresSpa Group Inc., a health and wellness company, that has set up a COVID-19 testing facility in a former urgent care clinic in Terminal 4. The six testing rooms should be able to handle more than 400 travelers per day.