Millions to travel for Thanksgiving despite COVID-19 surge and warnings

Posted at 10:02 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 23:17:46-05

MILWAUKEE — Millions of Americans still plan to travel for Thanksgiving despite warnings from healthcare professionals.

AAA forecasted trends to be lower than 2019 but projected up to 50 million people will still travel amid the pandemic.

On Tuesday, traffic was steady at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, but there were no long winding lines of holiday travelers.

"The plane seated 170 something people. It was only 56 of us traveling," said Sparkle Giles who flew to Milwaukee from Texas.

Since losing her mom a couple of years ago, Sparkle said it was important for her to come up for the holiday even as the pandemic drags on.

"We do have some concerns. I canceled it for most of the majority of the family so it’ll just be immediate family, my dad, my sisters, and I. We’ll be wearing masks and prayers," said Sparkle.

Limiting Thanksgiving to just a few people in the immediate family was a common theme among travelers.

"I’m only going to be with close family so it’s not gonna be too much going outside," said Dylan Lucero, a college student flying to California to spent winter break at home.

"Weigh the risks and benefits and it’s different for everybody," said Lynn Anderson, who flew in from Denver to be with family. Her mom added they would spend Thanksgiving grilling outside instead.

As millions pack their bags and venture out for the holiday health officials continue to strongly advise gathering with people outside your home, as well as, to keep Thanksgiving small. They also stress those that do get together should still wear face masks and social distance.

"We have not yet experienced in this pandemic a holiday like Thanksgiving with indoor gatherings. If managed incorrectly it could lead to a spike in hospitalizations that would overwhelm any health system," said Dr. Ben Weston with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

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