An urgent warning against travel came last week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after more than a million new Covid cases were recorded over seven days. Some governors and state officials have been even more blunt: stay home, according to Politico.
“What’s at stake is basically the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and being hospitalized and dying,” said Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager. “And around these holidays, we tend to get people together from multiple generations.”
AAA forecasts Thanksgiving travel to drop at least 10 percent from 2019 — the biggest one-year decline since the 2008 recession — but notes that CDC and state guidance will likely convince even more prospective travelers to stay home. Still, the high end of that forecast is 50 million Americans hopping in cars or onto planes to sit down to tables with all the trimmings.
Throughout the U.S., governors are increasingly instituting limits on public and private gatherings and testing and quarantine requirements for those who choose to travel out of state.
A bipartisan group of Midwestern governors has urged their residents to adhere to public health guidelines when celebrating this week. New Jersey tightened its limit for indoor gatherings to 10 people, akin to New York’s requirements for indoor and outdoor get-togethers. California, the nation’s most populous state, is now imposing a 10 p.m. curfew.
Several states, including Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont, have instituted quarantine or testing requirements for out-of-state visitors. But the thresholds are hardly uniform, and the requirements themselves are difficult to enforce.
With Americans eager to see friends and family, the travel industry this week had to walk a tightrope between promoting air travel as safe and acknowledging the health risks of holiday travel spelled out by the nation’s top doctors.
“The CDC advised that people should reconsider their travel plans. This further underscores the need to be really smart and highly vigilant on health and safety protocols if you’re going to choose to travel,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.