TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Across the country, millions of people will be traveling ahead of Christmas and New year celebrations.
AAA predicts that about 85 million people will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3, most of them by car. That’s a 29 percent decrease from last year.
More than 4.5 million Floridians will travel 50 miles or more. That’s a decline of nearly 1.7 million people from last year, according to AAA.
At Tampa International Airport, about 30,000 to 40,000 passengers are expected per day during the Christmas travel period— only about half of the 75,000 to 80,000 passengers that came through the airport during the same period last year.
“Our slowest days will be Christmas Eve and Christmas,” said TPA spokeswoman Emily Nipps. “At our peak, we’ll see about 44,000 per day or so.”
Though not as drastic of a decrease, holiday flights at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport are down from 186 last year to 180.
Nationally, as many as 2.9 million travelers are expected to book flights for the year-end holiday period,” according to a AAA report. The nearly 60% decline in air travel will result in at least 4.4 million fewer passengers this year compared to last year.”
The concern now, is ensuring that travelers take proper precautions, and heed travel restrictions.
Coronavirus testing at Tampa International Airport is encouraged but voluntary and available to any departing and arriving passengers except when testing sites are closed on Christmas Day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
If that’s not possible, CDC guidelines still recommend frequently washing your hands, wearing your mask, and staying six feet apart.
Newly reported coronavirus infections have risen from 176,000 the day before Thanksgiving to more than 215,000 new cases daily.
“While Thanksgiving is traditionally spent gathering with friends and family, the year-end holidays are when Americans traditionally venture out for longer, more elaborate vacations. That will not be the case this year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Public health concerns and official guidance to not travel will encourage the vast majority of Americans to stay home for the holidays.”
MORE TOP STORIES
- Beware of carnivorous hammerhead worms wreaking havoc on lawns
- TRACKING THE TROPICS: Tropical Depression 16 forms in the Atlantic
- North Port community holds candlelight vigil for Gabby Petito
- ‘I wanted to support her’: Barber shaves own head to comfort woman battling breast cancer
- COVID-19 variants: What happens when we finish the Greek alphabet?