Pandemic changes the way people travel for holiday weekend

“A lot of people are saying, ’You know what, I feel really comfortable in my car.”
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 10:37 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - While many people are taking advantage of the Labor Day weekend, travel agents say many are favoring one particular method of travel this year due to the pandemic.

“In April and May, we were predicting that business travel was going to come back first. Not probably the case,” Rose Gray of Fox World Travel said.

Travel agents say phone calls and virtual meetings have eliminated the need for a lot of business travel.

“Many companies are saying no more travel 2020, period,” said Gray.

What they are seeing is an uptick in leisure travel with people eager to get out and enjoy the last long weekend of summer after being told for months to stay put and social distance.

“People are fatigued, so we want to recognize that. We know it’s not the easiest option. People want to see their friends and their family and celebrate the holiday weekend,” Claire Paprocki, public health strategist for the Brown County Health Department, said.

But how people are traveling has shifted.

Data from the Transportation Security Administration show an 82 percent drop in people getting in the air compared to this same time last year. Instead, travel agents tell us, more people are getting in their cars and hitting the open road.

“A lot of people are saying, ’You know what, I feel really comfortable in my car,” Gray said.

While weekend warriors have their eyes on the road, travel agents say they also need to have their eyes on any pandemic-related restrictions.

“We tell people, especially on driving trips, you might need to look at a website for a particular state and/or region the day before you’re going to arrive,” Gray advised.

And before you go anywhere, health officials say to grab your face mask and hand sanitizer no matter what setting you plan on being in this holiday weekend.

“I think there’s this false sense of security that if you’re outside that it’s OK, I don’t need to wear a mask, I don’t need to socially distance, and unfortunately that’s not the case,” Paprocki said.

Click here for the latest data on COVID-19.

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