AAA forecasts light holiday traffic during pandemic but expect most travelers to drive to destinations


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — A survey completed by AAA on Nov. 13 found that of 895 Ohioans, 81% of believe traveling during COVID is a risk and plan to stay home this Thanksgiving.

The survey found 40% of respondents said they’re not traveling because of COVID concerns while 60% say they weren’t planning to travel anyway.

About 15% of people still plan to travel, and of that group 83% plan to drive, which officials say — compared to other options — is safer.

“Certainly being in a car by yourself [and] not making any stops, that is the best risk than going to an airport, flying long distance [and] being with a lot of people,” explained Dan Suffolletto, Public Information Specialist with Dayton Montgomery County Public Health.

Montgomery County is on the watch list and in danger of going into a Level 4 Public Emergency by Thanksgiving week. Public Health officials are asking people to reconsider traveling and gathering for the holidays and also before.

“It’s a dire situation right here and right now today,” said Suffoletto. “If you look at the numbers they’re skyrocketing. So, yes, we don’t want to see an increase after Thanksgiving but we need to take a look at what you’re doing right now today to stop that spread.”

Suffoletto emphasizes that the risk is not only on your family and friends, but also on overworked healthcare employees nationwide.

“Hospitals are being overrun in many parts of the country and the workers are feeling a lot of stress; not only from the number of cases, but also because a lot of people in the hospital have poor outcomes. So that can also take an emotional toll on them as well,” said Suffoletto.

For those still planning to travel, AAA officials say making a plan is the best way to mitigate risk and be as safe as possible.

“Plan ahead to minimize the number of stops en route,” said Micki Dudas, managing director of leisure traffic for AAA. “Travelers should also be aware of the local and state travel restrictions, including the testing requirements and potential quarantine orders…for the states they may be traveling to and through.”

To see AAA’s interactive map with travel restrictions and other information, click here.

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