Washington Changes Travel Guidance Amid Year’s Busiest Weekend

The state of Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee has just released new travel guidance, even as it becomes evident that Americans are ignoring the CDC and public health experts’ recommendations to avoid travel during the spring break season. Indeed, passenger traffic at the nation’s airports has reached a pandemic-era high with checkpoint tallies topping one million for the past 10 days in a row.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) officials said they believe this weekend will be their busiest since the onset of COVID-19. The estimate for Friday’s airport traffic alone was 80,000 travelers. SEA’s Airport Media and Public Affairs Manager Perry Cooper said that they expect passenger numbers to keep rising over the next few weeks, as college and university students are released for their spring breaks, Q13 Fox reported.


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Governor Inslee’s previous state travel guidance, first implemented in November 2020, had advised those entering Washington from other states to self-quarantine for 14 days and altogether avoid non-essential interstate travel. Now, he’s rescinding those recommendations and instead referring travelers to follow the CDC’s updated guidance, which has been lately modified to reflect the latest science and present COVID-19 conditions.

The latest CDC guidance reduced the number of days needed for self-quarantine from 14 to 10, although that period may be shortened depending upon whether travelers take a COVID-19 test between three and five days after arrival.

It’s also recommended that those coming from out of state get tested within the three days prior to their trip. Those who are eligible should also get vaccinated, keeping in mind it takes around 14 days from the final dose to achieve full immunity.

Although SEA is currently experiencing its highest passenger volumes of the entire year, the numbers are still 57 percent lower than pre-pandemic passenger counts for the same period, which averaged around 140,000 travelers per day.

For more information, visit coronavirus.wa.gov.

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Hawaii Sees Busiest Travel Day Since Start of Pandemic in US | Hawaii News

HONOLULU (AP) — More tourists travelled to Hawaii on Saturday than the state has seen in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

About 26,400 trans-Pacific and interisland travelers were screened by the state’s Safe Travels program on Saturday, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.

That’s Hawaii’s busiest day since coronavirus restrictions caused travel to plummet last year.

Data compiled by the Hawaii Tourism Authority showed that about 18,700 travelers were flying on Saturday for vacation or pleasure.

The Transportation Security Administration said Friday was its busiest screening day since March 15, 2020 with nearly 1.36 million people going through airport checkpoints in the United States.

The increase coincides with spring break and more vaccinations.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 100 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S.

“I feel very good about traveling here. You guys are being very conscious about having people tested or, if they haven’t been tested, having to quarantine,” said Jackie Bornstein, a visitor from Los Angeles who arrived Monday in Honolulu.

She said she is now fully vaccinated and was confident in coming to Hawaii because the state’s testing program and low infection rates.

“I’m here for eight days this time. There’s no doubt I’ll be back,” Bornstein said. “I have a son that lives in Texas. I’m not so comfortable going there where there are no masks.”

Travel to the Hawaii is still well below pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, Hawaii had a record 10.4 million arrivals.

“Our advance bookings are very strong and getting stronger,” Keith Vieira, principal of KV & Associates, Hospitality Consulting. “Hotels are seeing continued pickup all the way through summer, which we think could run as high as 50% occupancy. We’re hearing from guests that they want to travel and that Hawaii is probably their most trusted destination.”

Still, tourism is expected to struggle in Hawaii for years to come.

“We won’t be back to 2019 levels even by 2022 because we’ve had too many group cancellations,” Vieira said. “We also need to get international visitors back.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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MSP Airport preps for busiest travel month since beginning of pandemic

With many preparing to travel for spring break in March, officials at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are preparing for what is expected to be their busiest month since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MSP Airport could see a few days in March peaking at more than 28,000 passengers going through its checkpoints, well over the current pandemic peak of nearly 22,000 checkpoint passengers in a day set in late December, according to a news release. Pre-pandemic, busy spring break travel days often saw 35,000 to 45,000 people passing through the airport’s security checkpoints.

An average of 338 flights are expected to department MSP daily in March, up 21 from the average daily departures during MSP’s previous peak month during the pandemic in December. However, March departures are still projected to be 34% below this time last year, when the pandemic was only just beginning to impact air travel in the United States. 

MSP Airport officials say travelers should build in more time to get to the airport and to their gate. Travelers are advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours early for a domestic flight and two and a half hours early for an international flight. 

MSP Airport has put a number of new COVID-19 safety measures in place over the last several months, including: 

  • Queueing areas that promote better social distancing
  • “Robust” airport cleaning program
  • Hundreds of hand sanitizing stations across both terminals
  • Protective barriers at customer contact points 

MSP Airport recently launched a contactless online ordering portal called MSP ASAP that allows travelers to order food for pickup and delivery from multiple different restaurants or concession venues, including Blue Door Pub, Ike’s Club House and Hi-Lo Diner.  

Many restaurants at the MSP Airport have also employed QR codes for their menus and many concession venues are now accepting more app pay services to promote additional contactless transactions.  

For a contactless parking experience, travelers can pre-book their parking online and scan a QR code from the online parking confirmation to enter and exit the parking ramp. 

Delta Air Lines is preparing for an influx of passengers in March by increasing its check-in capacity in Terminal 1. Delta will open its east curb check-in counters beginning March 10, which will operate daily between 6 a.m. and noon. Delta’s Tram Level ticket counters will also be open at various times to offer another alternative to its main ticketing lobby counters. 

MSP Airport is asking travelers to support their health and safety measures by continuing to wear their required face coverings, washing their hands regularly, using hand sanitizer and abiding by social distancing recommendations, especially in check-in and security lines. 

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Thanksgiving eve was the busiest air travel day of the pandemic, despite health warnings – Washington Post

Thanksgiving eve was the busiest air travel day of the pandemic, despite health warnings  Washington Post

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Despite health warnings, holiday travel has already set a record for busiest weekend of the pandemic – Washington Post

Despite health warnings, holiday travel has already set a record for busiest weekend of the pandemic  Washington Post

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