By air or by road, holiday travel continues in Bay Area

While this year will be a lot different for holiday travel, officials are prepared for it to be busier than usual.

Millions of Americans are traveling ahead of Christmas and New Year’s, despite pleas from public health experts that they stay home to avoid fueling the raging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 320,000 nationwide.

AAA projects about 85 million people will be traveling between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3 -- a drop of at least 29% from a year ago.  Many airlines have stopped limiting capacity on flights, so if you are heading out of town, planes may be full.  Face masks on-board and at Tampa International Airport are still required.  
"We’re going to see about 40,000 passengers come through the airport today. Now that’s about half of what we saw this time last year," said Emily Nipps, spokeswoman for Tampa International Airport.  

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The CDC recommends getting tested for COVID-19 one to three days before you leave-- and three to five days after returning. Anyone arriving or departing at TPA can get a PCR or rapid test done in the main terminal.  The coronavirus testing site opened back in October and airport officials say up to 250 passengers are getting tested daily. 

If you're one of the many people hitting the road today, keep in mind, Florida Highway Patrol will be out in full force making sure you, and everyone else, stays safe.  All available troopers -- including those typically assigned to administrative duties -- will be patrolling over Christmas and New Year’s Day.