Holiday travel: what’s expected and urged

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – With just over a week until Christmas Day, many travelers on Wednesday made a quick stop at an I-75 rest area as part of their journey heading to be with loved ones for the holidays.

“We’re just going to hang out with family, play board games,” Conshombia McArthur said.

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AAA expects that between December 23rd and January 3rd there will be 34 million less travelers than last year.

Among Tennesseans, they predict travel will be down just over 28 percent.

“We’re really expecting the majority of Americans to stay at home. Right now the CDC is urging people to remain at home for the holidays,” AAA spokeswoman Megan Cooper said.

The Hamilton County Health Department considers traveling to see family and friends a high risk activity that should be avoided and warns that the virus can spread from one person to others in just 15 minutes.

While the amount of travelers might dip this year, AAA still expects that 85 million Americans might travel.

For those who have decided to take on a road trip, planning is important.

Cooper encourages folks to do some extra research into the destinations along their route.

“You want to look for things like mask mandates, travel restrictions, are there testing requirements where you’re going? Are there quarantine requirements where you’re going,” Cooper said.

The health department added that pre-travel COVID testing is not necessarily a reliable way to keep anyone safe.

They said that if it is done days in advance that strict quarantining would be needed.