ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State fully lifted its COVID-19 safety restrictions in early June. This weekend, some Rochester residents will be celebrating Independence Day for the first time in two years — making this holiday one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
According to AAA, 47.7 million Americans are estimated to travel by car or plane this month as they set sights on the first lockdown-free holiday since March 2020.
The uptick in road travel in July has come at the same time as record-breaking gas prices. Despite the gas price surge — nearly a dollar more per-gallon compared to last year at $3.17 — people will continue to seek the outdoors.
“Conesus Lake is not that far,” Rochester resident Derek Armstrong said. “It’s like a half hour from here or 40 minutes so it’s worth the extra $0.10 or $0.20 cents per gallon.”
While roads were still being used during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel was completely halted by safety restrictions. This year, there was a 164% increase in air travel compared to the same period in 2020.
The Fredrick Douglas Greater Rochester International Airport (FDGRIA) has seen an increase in foot traffic as more out-of-state travelers look to celebrate July 4th in the area.
“Last year was very depressing,” FDGRIA Director Andy Moore said. “You had maybe 15 flights departing flights and maybe 800 passengers. Today we have 35 departing flights and about 2200-2400 passengers.”
Whether travel this holiday weekend is busy or costly, Rochester residents and people state-wide will prioritize the celebration of Independence Day without hesitation.