COVID-19 pandemic making for fewer Thanksgiving travelers

Travel

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Roads and airports will see less traffic this holiday season, as those at the Greater Rochester International Airport and experts with AAA predict the pandemic will keep many people at home.

Fewer than 50 million Americans are expected to travel this year. According to the AAA travel forecast, this is the largest one-year decrease since the 2008 recession.

“There’s no doubt that the pandemic is impacting travel,” Elizabeth Carey, public relations coordinator for AAA Western New York. “Travel at AAA is down nearly 80 percent compared to last year at this time. It’s definitely going to look a lot different than it did last year, or even over the last several years because travel had really been growing until this pandemic hit.”

At the Greater Rochester International Airport, traffic volumes are still down 75 percent and departing flights are down roughly 50 percent. Leaders point to COVID-19.

“It certainly has played a huge role in the decrease in traffic, not only here in Rochester but across the country,” GRIA director Andy Moore said. “And so we will see a little bit of an uptick because Thanksgiving is the busiest flying time or traffic time of the year, but, again, nowhere near the number of travelers that we’ve seen in past years.”

A majority of those traveling will do so by car, according to AAA. Governor Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 10 -and asked people to avoid both travel and large gatherings during the holidays.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also urging Americans not to travel during the holidays.

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