coronavirus illinois

Even Amid Pandemic, Some Chicagoans Prepare to Travel Ahead of Christmas Day

Even amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some Chicagoans are heading to area airports to catch a flight out of town in the days leading up to Christmas.

Liz Hernandez is one of those travelers, as she prepares to fly to California to spend Christmas with her family. It’s her first time flying during the pandemic.

“I’m just going to be careful,” she said. “I’ve got my hand sanitizer, (and) I’ll shower, clean off, and settle in. I’m definitely concerned, but I want to live my life.”

According to the Transportation Safety Administration, last weekend was the busiest travel weekend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with agents screening more than three million travellers over a three-day period.

Anthony Ferruzza is traveling for the holidays, saying restrictions have been in place for “long enough.”

“I think I’m over it. I’m comfortable,” he said.

City officials are continuing to urge Chicagoans to stay at home, with a strict travel order remaining in place. Under the terms of the current order, residents who travel to one of 31 states still under the order will have to quarantine after they return.

Even with those types of orders in place, AAA predicts that approximately 85 million people will still travel for the holidays between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3. Although that number is still high, AAA says it’s actually around 30% lower than last season, and it is believed that many of those travellers will travel by car instead of by plane.

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