Mitchell International expects 'small bump' in holiday travel

With Thanksgiving just over one week away, health officials warn that small, household gatherings are contributing to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

With many people canceling plans altogether, those in the travel industry say it is hard to predict just how busy Thanksgiving week will be. If you must travel -- whether by plane, train or car -- you are encouraged to do so safely.

"We are expecting a small bump in travel," said Stephanie Staudinger, marketing and public relations coordinator with Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. "It’s hard to kind of predict what that’s going to be and what that’s exactly going to look like and entail." 

Year after year, the holidays are marked by the hustle-and-bustle of getting to and from. But amid the pandemic, Mitchell International Airport looks different.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

For traveler Nick Evers, COVID-19 meant reimagining his plans.

"The airports are very, very quiet," Everts said. "We’ve taken all our precautions, a lot of hand sanitizer, face masks." 

This year, Thanksgiving and Christmas came early for Everts, who traveled from Arizona to the Cream City for a pre-holiday trip -- and he's not alone.

In a recent FOX6 Insta-Poll, viewers were asked how the pandemic has changed their Thanksgiving plans. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they will be staying home. About 13% said they will meet relatives with a safety plan. Thirty-one percent said they will treat this year like any other.

"We’re asking people to do the social distancing and stay six feet apart," said Staudinger.

If you are traveling, Staudinger said extra precautions are being taken by airport staff. Those precautions include frequent disinfecting, especially to "high-touch areas." However, she urges travelers to take steps to protect themselves and others, too -- like masking up.

"We want people to know that we are doing everything we can, we just need them to do everything they can," Staudinger said.

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Health officials suggest that people limit their holiday plans this year to those in their immediate household and, instead, celebrate with others virtually.


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