Despite warnings, thousands of Mainers anticipated to take a trip for holidays – Press Herald

23December 2020

Thousands of Mainers and millions of New Englanders are anticipated to take a trip for the upcoming vacations, regardless of repeated cautions from health authorities that doing so might aggravate a rise of coronavirus cases in Maine and the nation.

About 3.2 million individuals in New England are anticipated to travel at least 50 miles over the next 2 weeks, AAA Northern New England projected. The variety of travelers is anticipated to be down 35 percent from the same duration in 2015, the travel and insurer stated.

Thanksgiving travel this year in Maine was far lower than the year prior to, however holiday gatherings still contributed to continual neighborhood virus spread out the state continues to experience, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah stated a combination of aspects, consisting of holiday events, gathering together indoors and improvements to the agency’s reporting of test outcomes have driven record-high everyday COVID-19 case counts in current weeks.

“Maybe on days 10 to 14 after Thanksgiving, much of what may have been driving that on those days was the Thanksgiving vacation; on other days it may have been procedure enhancements or weather driving individuals within,” Shah said.

Some Americans utilize the year-end holidays for longer getaways compared with the household gatherings typically related to Thanksgiving, said AAA Northern New England spokesperson Pat Moody.

“That will not hold true this year,” he stated. “Public health issues, main assistance not to take a trip, and an overall decline in consumer sentiment have actually motivated the large majority of Americans not to take a trip.”

The majority of those who do take a trip– 2.9 million New Englanders– will do so by car, AAA anticipates. About 1 million more people in the region are forecasted to travel for the winter holiday than did for Thanksgiving, according to the company’s forecasts.

The U.S. Centers for Illness Control and Prevention has alerted against all nonessential travel over the vacations.

“Travel can increase your chance of dispersing and getting COVID-19,” the firm said in assistance previously this month. “Delaying travel and staying at home is the very best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

People who are sick or believe they have been exposed to the infection ought to quarantine and not travel, the CDC included. Those who have remained in congested places, utilized public transportation, attended big social gatherings or mass gatherings, or anyone traveling with them must delay their trip and make other strategies, it said.

“You and your traveling buddies– including children– might feel well and not have any symptoms, however you can still spread COVID-19 to family, friends and community after travel,” the company stated.

People who do travel ought to get a test for COVID-19 one to 3 days before beginning a journey, and get evaluated and avoid inessential activities for 7 to 10 days after returning home.

In a Wednesday news conference, Gov. Janet Mills advised Mainers to do whatever they can to avoid the spread of the virus, including putting off travel and staying away from vacation parties.

“We require everyone to wear a mask, see your range, wash your hands and prevent events,” Mills stated. “The greatest present we can offer each other this holiday season is not a present under the tree or a hug shared by an enjoyed one. The very best present we can provide, and the best present we can get, is the present of health, the present of life.”

Travel in New England is anticipated to be more reduced than in the nation as a whole– a 35 percent reduction compared to a 29 percent decrease year over year. The steeper regional dip is because of tighter travel restrictions in the region than somewhere else in the nation, said Moody, of AAA.

“The closer proximity of states and the fact that more of New England requires or recommends quarantine when visiting neighboring states indicates you do not have the same alternatives for excursion as other states where it is most likely you can visit friends and family on a day trip that goes beyond 50 miles,” he stated.

All inessential visitors to Maine have to quarantine for 10 days after entering the state or get a negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours prior to showing up. New Hampshire and Vermont are the only states exempt from the constraints.

Flight to Maine has actually surged in the days before the year-end vacations. The Portland International Jetport saw more than 5,500 guests last week, almost 22 percent greater than the week before, according to jetport Director Paul Bradbury.

“Traveler throughput is up over recently as we approach the holidays, but I anticipate based on advance reservation data that Portland Jetport will remain down half to 60 percent from our 2019 levels,” Bradbury said.

Nationwide, air travel was above 1 million passengers a day for three days last weekend, the highest number of weekend tourists considering that the pandemic started, the Washington Post reported.

Traffic on Maine roads has trended downward considering that late November, according to a weekly travel monitoring report from the Maine Department of Transport.

State traffic is gauged by automobile miles took a trip as recorded at monitoring stations. Traffic on state roadways struck a six-month low last week, according to transport department information.

The Maine Turnpike Authority anticipates nearly 592,250 car transactions at its toll plazas between Thursday and Sunday, a practically 24 percent decline from the exact same duration last year.

Actual traffic might be lower than expected, specifically with a large wind-driven rainstorm projection for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, said Maine Turnpike Director Peter Mills.

“This vacation in specific, the rain is all anyone requires not to get on the roadway,” he stated. “I think that will tip people into following the public health recommendations in terms of travel.”

Traffic projections are of minimal aid in forecasting what effect holiday travel will have on the pandemic, Peter Mills stated. While interstate travel may be down since of limitations and warnings from authorities, that may not apply for people visiting pals and loved ones living close by.

“Traffic won’t be as high as last year, but it is a lot much easier for people to jump in the cars and truck and see somebody who lives 20 or 30 miles away,” he stated.

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