CDC Urges Americans to Forego Thanksgiving Travel, Visits With Extended Family

November 19, 2020 by Dan McCue
Motorists wait in long lines to take a coronavirus test in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)

WASHINGTON — It is traditionally the largest travel holiday of the year, however, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging Americans not to travel during this Thanksgiving holiday and to skip gatherings with family members outside their households.

Officials with the agency said they were strengthening their recommendations against travel due to the current surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

As of Wednesday, the seven-day average of new cases across the country had surpassed more than 162,000.

During a briefing with reporters, Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said he and other officials at the agency are not only concerned about the mode of travel people use to see relatives during the holidays, “but also the transportation hubs.”

“Amid this critical phase, the C.D.C. is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” said Dr. Walke. “When people are in line to get on a bus or plane, social distancing becomes far more difficult and viral transmission becomes more likely,” he said.

Officials said their warning is an attempt to prevent the holidays from becoming superspreader events that could extend the surge in cases into early next year.

According to AAA Travel, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including health concerns and unemployment, were already impacting Americans’ decisions to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

With health and government officials stressing that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick, AAA anticipates at least a 10% drop in travel – the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008.

Based on mid-October forecast models, AAA would have expected up to 50 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving – a drop from 55 million in 2019.

However, as the holiday approaches and Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the CDC’s travel health notices, AAA expects the actual number of holiday travelers will be even lower.

“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel.

“The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure,” she said.

Travel spending in the U.S. is expected to finish the year 45% down from 2019 levels, and will still not have returned to its pre-pandemic strength by 2024, according to figures released by the U.S. Travel Association earlier this week.

The new 2020 projected travel spending figure of $617 billion is slightly worse than U.S. Travel’s previous forecast released in July ($622 billion)—and is a precipitous drop from the $1.13 trillion spent on travel in the U.S. overall in 2019.

The nosedive reflects a decline of 34% in domestic leisure travel spending—but even sharper drop-offs in the lucrative domestic business (55%) and international inbound (77%) markets.

In The News

Health

Voting

Travel

Airlines Say They Will Fail Without More Federal Aid
Travel
Airlines Say They Will Fail Without More Federal Aid
March 3, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Airline industry officials made a plea Tuesday for additional federal assistance to help their deeply wounded businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. They asked a congressional committee for another round of Payroll Support Program funds, not only to keep their workers employed, but in... Read More

Lawmakers Make Bipartisan Push to Protect the Flying Public
Travel
Lawmakers Make Bipartisan Push to Protect the Flying Public
February 10, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is seeking to enhance the safety of the flying public by requiring airlnes to install secondary cockpit barriers on all commercial passsenger aircraft. The legislation reintroduced by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., André Carson, D-Ind., and Chris... Read More

Families Seek Exemptions to U.S., Canada Land Border Closure
Foreign Affairs
Families Seek Exemptions to U.S., Canada Land Border Closure
February 10, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — When it comes to COVID restrictions along America’s northern border, the United States and Canada are treating travelers rather differently. While this may not be as concerning for most general discretionary travel, bi-national families are increasingly frustrated with U.S. policies barring Canadian citizens from... Read More

Around the Globe, Virus Cancels Spring Travel for Millions
Economy
Around the Globe, Virus Cancels Spring Travel for Millions

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — They are the annual journeys of late winter and early spring: Factory workers in China heading home for the Lunar New Year; American college students going on road trips and hitting the beach over spring break; Germans and Britons fleeing drab skies... Read More

CDC Expands COVID Restrictions for International Air Travel
Travel
CDC Expands COVID Restrictions for International Air Travel
January 25, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

ATLANTA - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put into effect on Tuesday a new order that mandates all air passengers into the US have taken a viral test for coronavirus infection within three days of their flight. Written documentation of either a negative test... Read More

Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa
Health
Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials. The officials, who spoke on the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top