TAMPA, Fla. - The CDC says to avoid travel during the holidays due to COVID-19, but despite the warning, many are headed to airports.
Tampa International Airport recorded its busiest day since the pandemic began last March.
“Being on the plane itself is pretty safe,” says Dr. Jay Wolfson of USF. “But getting to the airport, from the parking lot to the terminal, and standing in line, that’s the problem.”
Airport officials say if you come two hours or more before your flight, you have more time to be COVID-cautious.
“If you are about to get on the shuttle to go over to the airside and that shuttle looks a little full, you can always wait until the next one. It’s usually back within a minute,” says Emily Nipps, a TPA spokesperson.
She says the same strategy can work at TSA checkpoints.
Arriving or departing passengers can get tested for COVID-19 at the airport. Depending on your destination, a COVID-19 test may be required.
"It’s up to the passenger to know this,” says Nipps. “Every state, every U.S. territory, every country is different. Do the research to see what is required,” she says.
"If you are going to travel, wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands, bring some [hand sanitizer], stay away from people in the airport, and keep your mask on in the plane,” says Wolfson.
He says travelers exercising personal responsibility is the only way to hold down the spike he believes will be caused by Thanksgiving travel.
Airport officials say the busiest days are yet to come, next Saturday and Sunday when people return from the Thanksgiving holiday.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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