State tourism and travel leaders are reminding residents to be safe ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend.
The American Automobile Association is projecting New Englanders will take almost 38 million road trips this summer. According to AAA data and projects, road trips from July 1 to Sept. 30 will make up 97% of all summer travel for New Englanders.
“This summer we will see the return of the Great American Road Trip, with most New Englanders expected to actually take multiple road trips between now and the end of September,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “Instead of just one major summer getaway planned and booked long in advance, travelers will be taking more trips that are planned 7 days to just 48 hours before departure.”
Residents are urged to plan ahead. COVID-19 will make limitations on capacities at hotels and other attractions so Parmenter said planning ahead has never been so critical.
AAA also recommends making sure your vehicle is road ready. If you have a break down, there is now extra complexity and risk due to COVID-19, Parmenter added.
Road trips are projected to be down only about 2% year over year "because folks still have a strong desire to get away but, because of Covid-19 concerns and restrictions, they are opting not to fly, cruise or take other modes of transportation at this time," AAA said in a press release. Meanwhile air travel during the same period is down almost 75%, while rail, cruise and other modes of travel are down nearly 84%.
While so many people will be in their cars during the holiday weekend, Connecticut State Police TFC Christine Jeltema is asking residents to obey the speed limits, wear seatbelts and obey the laws.
Jeltema reminded drivers not to follow too closely and to ditch distractions. She urged residents that accidents are preventable and to never drink and drive.
Residents are encouraged to check out state parks and beaches during the holiday weekend. Picnicking is allowed, however, tables in the parks cannot be disinfected so visitors are encouraged to bring their own tablecloths, according to state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes.
When going to the park, remember to bring your mask and to maintain social distancing.
For real time information about which parks are closed and open, residents can use What's Open Outdoors. Dykes also said many municipalities are updating the website when their beaches and parks reach capacity.
Dykes reminded visitors to have a plan b if they get to a park and it is closed. She urged residents not to park outside and try and walk in. She said it is not safe for you or other visitors.
Those who plan to be boating during the holiday weekend are also reminded to be safe. If you are going out on the water, Dykes said not to operate under the influence as it can lead to serious injuries and consequences. You should always wear a life jacket while boating, she added.