RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The coronavirus pandemic has many Virginia families staying home for the holidays. A survey by AAA shows that 84% of Virginia residents say they will not be traveling this Thanksgiving with 40% of those citing COVID-19 as their reason for staying home.
Coronavirus cases in Virginia have been surging this month, today alone there were 1,823 new cases and the state total now sits at 210,787 cases.
Since November has started Virginia has seen its three highest daily COVID-19 case counts so far.
“Given the recent surge in COVID-19 and the strong urging of public health officials for everyone to stay home for the holiday, the Thanksgiving travel landscape continues to change,” says Martha Mitchell Meade, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “With that in mind, AAA conducted a new poll asking Virginia residents who have decided against traveling for the holiday whether COVID-19, specifically, was the reason – and over 40% said yes.”
Regardless of their travel plans, 86% of people surveyed saying they find traveling during the pandemic to be risky and 33% said the risk is significant.
Some families were never planning to travel this November, 56% of families say they had always planned to stay home this thanksgiving.
The majority of people leaving home for Thanksgiving will be driving this year. Meade says Thanksgiving is always a driving holiday but this year drivers should expect even more crowded roads due to a lack of people flying. Only 12% of Virginians travelers surveyed said they plan to take an airplane.
“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,” Meade said.
According to AAA, Gas prices are expected to be 50 cents cheaper this Thanksgiving than last year.
In addition to traffic and gas prices with COVID-19 cases rising in most states it is important to know the guidelines of where you’re going and the protocols for entering different states.
States such as Pennsylvania and New York requires visitors to test negative for COVID-19 before entering the state while other places ask people to quarantine upon arrival especially if those visitors have visited a state with an especially high testing positivity rate.
One demographic of Virginia that will almost definitely be doing some driving during the week of Thanksgiving will be college students. 8News looked into how all of the major Virginia colleges and universities will be handling students transition back to their home towns.
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