Memorial Day travelers escape states shutdown due to COVID-19, FL airports try to protect against virus


CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Memorial Day weekend is officially upon us and despite the pandemic people are making plans to enjoy even more time off.

Many Floridians are looking for ways to enjoy the holiday weekend, but so are out-of-towners who say their states are still shut down. They come here with changes in how they fly.

After a dismal month for airports across the country this Memorial Day weekend travel is back.

At St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport there were more than 95% fewer travelers in April compared to last year. The month of May though is getting busier.

“Visiting my family. Working out of here. Enjoying the beach a little bit. Can’t do that in Michigan,” said Jansey Rodriguez after landing at St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport.

As airlines begin to open up more flights many travelers coming to Florida are leaving states with strong stay-at-home orders. The coronavirus is not something that’s keeping cooped up Americans from coming to the Sunshine State.

“We take precautions, but I’m not concerned. I’m not concerned,” said Kelly Hynes, also traveling in from Grand Rapids, MI.

Airports are doing what they can to protect travelers. St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport has a COVID-19 Action Plan that includes increased sanitation protocols. Social distancing is encouraged with seats that are blocked off, and employees wear masks. Travelers are encouraged to wear theirs and stay apart from each other at baggage terminals.

A woman from New York state tells 8 On Your Side’s Marco Villarreal she chose to buy a direct flight so she wouldn’t have to expose herself more to other airports with layovers ad on the flight she chose to wear her mask.

“The whole flight! Some did, and some didn’t. Your older generation like us, we did. Some of the younger ones, they didn’t. That’s their choice,” said Mary Smorol of New York.

On the roads, AAA says while they expect to see the lowest numbers of travelers in 17 years it’ll be the busiest in months.


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Coronavirus Need-to-Know Info

More Coronavirus

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss