COVID-19 Pandemic Will Keep Many CT Residents from Traveling for Thanksgiving: AAA

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The majority of Connecticut residents won’t travel for Thanksgiving this year and more than 50 percent of people who are staying home said it is because of concerns about COVID-19, according to a survey by AAA.

“Given the recent surge in COVID-19 and the strong urging of the Governor and public health officials for everyone to stay home for the holiday, the Thanksgiving travel landscape continues to change,” Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford, said in a statement. “With that in mind, AAA conducted a new poll asking Connecticut residents who have decided against traveling for the holiday whether COVID-19, specifically, was the reason - and more than 50% said yes.”

The AAA survey found that 89 percent of Connecticut residents surveyed will be staying home for the Thanksgiving holiday and 51 percent said they are not traveling because of COVID-19.

Forty-nine percent said they were not planning to travel anyway, 89 percent of Connecticut residents surveyed said they perceive traveling at this time poses a risk and 41% called that risk “significant.”

Of the people who said they plan to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, 73 percent plan to drive.

“Although Thanksgiving is typically a driving holiday, it should be noted that, since the beginning of COVID, those who have decided to travel this year have predominantly done so by car where they can have greater control over their environment and the ability to modify plans at the last minute,” Parmenter said.

Twenty-five percent plan to fly and 2 percent plan to travel by some ‘other’ mode of transportation, like bus or train.

People who are driving, AAA urges, should plan their route ahead; minimize the number of stops along the way and pack meals, extra snacks and drinks in addition to an emergency roadside kit that includes extra masks and wipes.

AAA also urges travelers to be aware of local and state travel restrictions, including testing requirements and quarantine orders in the states you are traveling to, through and also upon your return.

Drives will find cheaper gas prices this year, according to AAA, which says the national average gas prices are nearly 50 cents cheaper than this time last year and October averages were the lowest in more than 15 years.

Here in Connecticut, the average price of gas today is $2.13/gal of regular unleaded, which is four cents cheaper than a month ago and 53 cents cheaper than last year at this time.

What to Know Before You Go: AAA

  • Plan Ahead. Check with state and local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.
  • Follow Public Health Guidance. Consistent use of face masks combined with social distancing (at least 6 feet) and regular handwashing are the best ways to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19. Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also pack water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along your trip.
  • Verify Before You Go. Call ahead to minimize any last-minute surprises. 
  • Hotels: Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests. Ask about social distancing protocols like capacity reductions in common spaces, hotel staff requirements to wear masks at all times, and if all amenities are available, like restaurant dining.
  • Car rentals – If renting a car, ask what has been done to clean the vehicle. For extra peace of mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels.

What to Expect If You Are Flying

AAA said it anticipates Thanksgiving air travel will see the largest one-year decrease on record. Several airlines have been waiving change fees for would-be Thanksgiving travelers who decide not to go.

Hartford HealthCare announced it will be opening a new COVID-19 testing site at Bradley Airport starting next week that will be open to the public.

AAA reminds air travelers that food and beverage services on flights might not be available. As a precaution, wipe down your seat, armrest, belt buckle and tray table with disinfecting wipes.

Note: AAA said the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent.

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