MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the year as millions of Americans are hitting the roadways and skies to be with loved ones this Christmas.
One place that has seen a lot of traffic today is Memphis International Airport. Airport officials expect today to be one of their peak travel days.
Since Thursday morning, there has been a steady flow of people coming and going, all while the threat of coronavirus remains. Over 8,000 passengers are projected to come through the airport ahead of Christmas Eve. Many are flying for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Christmas comes as Coronavirus cases are surging across the country. Shelby County is now averaging 414 cases a day, which is the most since September.
At Memphis International Airport, on-site COVID testing is being offered. It is a huge relief for travelers like Barbara Hitzhusen, who is traveling to Florida to see her daughter and grandchildren.
“I think it’s an excellent idea, an excellent idea,” Hitzhusen said. “If at all possible and they have time, I think it’s good to protect others.”
Ahead of the holiday, the CDC issued travel recommendations, encouraging people to not travel until they are fully vaccinated. They also said you should check to see how many COVID-19 cases are happening at your destinations. Also, wear a mask while on public transit, and stay home if you are sick or infected by COVID-19.
Travelers at Memphis International said they plan on playing it safe once they arrive at their destinations.
“We’re just super excited about it and just hope that everybody take this variant, very important, and very serious,” traveler Stacey Puryear said. “I don’t want anybody to lose their life over something they can really just take care of by just doing the proper things.”
If you are headed to the airport, masks are still required, and it is recommended you get here early with the high number of people traveling.