DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, the CDC warned people to avoid traveling for the holiday and while travel rates have been down year-round due to the pandemic, holiday travel has seen an uptick.
“There are still some people that are going to be traveling and getting together with friends and family and so the roads are still going to be a little bit busy so we just hope that everybody that is going somewhere will be careful and continue to wear their masks and wash their hands and continue all those things we’ve been doing this year,” Said Clay Ingram Public Relations and Marketing Manager for AAA Alabama.
According to AAA last year there were 55 million travelers on the road for Thanksgiving, but this year they are expecting a 15-20% decrease in travel worldwide.
“We’re probably looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-45 million people traveling, you know, nationwide,” Ingram said.
AAA usually sees automobile travel at a higher rate for Thanksgiving, most years 85-90% of travelers are on the road, but this year due to the pandemic they are expecting to see at least 95% of travel by car.
For those traveling by air, the Dothan Regional Airport is following CDC guidelines, masks are required, and social distancing is applied on all Delta flights.
“When you do arrive to the airport when you are first checking in you will be asked a series of covid related questions to make sure all of our passengers are safe before boarding the flight, you’ll then go through the normal TSA regulation checks and then you’ll go ahead and board your plane with a mask,” said Marketing Director for Dothan Regional Airport, Lauren Beauchamp.
According to Dothan Regional Airport Executive Director, Adam Hartzog, air travel across the globe is down 40% of what it was pre-COVID, but in preparation for the holiday season, his airport moved from three flights to four flights a day on Friday, November 20.
“Well normally we do 5,000 enplanements per month and that was pre-covid so we are basically right around the 2,500 mark per month, so for the holiday, for December, I hope to be at 2,500-3,500,” said Hartzog.
Both AAA and Dothan Regional Airport ask travelers to take precautions to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.