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Low Thanksgiving Travel Expected Due to COVID-19 Risks

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About 266,000 Idahoans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, mainly by car. (Halfpoint/Adobe Stock)
About 266,000 Idahoans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, mainly by car. (Halfpoint/Adobe Stock)
November 23, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- The number of travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to be the lowest since the Great Recession.

AAA said travel volume during the pandemic will most likely fall at least 10%. About 266,000 Idahoans are anticipated to take trips for the holiday weekend.

Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho, said staying home and avoiding large gatherings are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Even though it's a very personal decision whether or not you're going to travel, we need people to be informed," Conde contended. "We need people to understand the risks involved because it could really impact a lot of people if we have people that aren't conscientious about what they're doing."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people do not travel for Thanksgiving.

If they do, Conde noted travel restrictions are in place for some states. AAA has a map showing which states and localities have COVID-19 restrictions.

Conde added airline travel will likely be half its normal number, but he recommended folks who are flying show up early because COVID-19 procedures could make security lines longer.

Road travel is expected to increase, from 89% of travelers last year to 95% this year. Conde urged people to plan their meals and make sure their car battery and tires are in good shape.

"Realize that rest stops may not be open, certain restaurants may not be open, certain hotels may not be open," Conde cautioned. "So you really need to understand not just your end destination but the whole trip, what is the risk, what's going to be opened or closed and how does that affect you?"

With the pandemic, politics from the recent election, and the normal holiday stress all in the air, Conde encouraged people to be patient this Thanksgiving.

"With all those emotions running high, compassion is so important right now," Conde remarked. "Let somebody in on the road in front of you, be courteous as you're standing in line at the airport security. Do all those things that you can do to make the experience better."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID