ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan expanded a travel advisory urging residents to avoid any non-essential out of state travel to state’s with high positivity rates.
This comes as Maryland continued to see high numbers of new COVID-19 cases through the weekend. Monday morning officials reported nearly 1,700 new cases, 39 more hospitalizations and 14 more deaths.
“Fortunately, many people are following that advice, a survey by AAA found that nearly 90% of Marylanders are not planning to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday,” Hogan said during a press conference Monday.
We stopped at a gas station before coming to the airport. We interviewed several motorist and all of them say they’ve canceled their travel plans for #Thanksgiving but there are still travelers at the airport @BWI_Airport @wjz pic.twitter.com/AHHpqoEUcF
— Rachael Cardin (@RachaelCardin) November 23, 2020
Hogan said both federal and state officials are strongly advising against holiday travel and celebrating Thanksgiving should be limited to the members of your immediate household.
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“We want all of our families across the state to enjoy the holidays. But we want them to do it in a safe way,” said Hogan. “While the way we celebrate this year, may be different. We still have so much to be thankful for.”
The Maryland State Department of Transportation is also asking people to stay “safer at home” this holiday season.
And days away from one of the biggest travel times of the year, but due to the health crisis, many American have opted out of leaving home.
Usually there would be lines, more people checking bags at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport this time of year, but this year it is quiet.
Many people WJZ spoke to are passing through on their way home, some traveling for business and others are still taking the opportunity to see family for Thanksgiving, despite cautions not to.
“I had a plan to go to Nepal but because of the situation, I did not, I can’t just to keep my office staff safe I decided to stay home,” said John Sahi.
AAA reports 90% of Marylanders surveyed plan to stay home for Thanksgiving due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, and the general uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
“We are expecting that this will probably be the greatest decline in holiday travel for Thanksgiving that we have seen since 2008,” said Regina Ali, with AAA.
A professor from the University of Maryland School of Public Health said traveling is a risk to your loved ones.
“I realized the potential risk I posed to them that I posed to them in traveling was too great, and of course I really wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I knew I brought COVID-19 into their home,” Prof. Neil Sehgal said.
But for Kenyan missionary Tina Davis, getting back into the country was an opportunity she wasn’t going to pass up.
“We’ve been in Africa the past three months, so grateful to be able to see family and friends and take care of some errands while we are there,” Davis said.
But they said they plan to do whatever it takes to stay safe.
“We understand about the pandemic, but as a nurse I know to be cautious and prayerful so we are grateful we can be with family and friends,” she said.
This story was originally published on Nov. 23, 2020.