DENVER (CBS4) – Travel restrictions for Colorado residents will require more planning and flexibility heading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, experts at AAA warn for those leaving the state by plane or car. COVID-19 cases in October have pushed more states to require quarantining when entering from a hotspot of the coronavirus.
“Americans are still traveling, some are traveling internationally,” said Skyler McKinley, the director of public relations and government affairs for AAA Colorado. “What’s different is that if you booked a vacation this time last year, you could be reasonably certain that your vacation would go exactly as you planned it to, this year, especially this time of year, flexibility is the name of the game.”
TSA saw one million passengers last week and summer travel on the roads was down two percent, according to McKinley. He says the public is still enjoying the chance to get out of the house and visit different destinations but they must consider the new protocol for travel. Airlines, rest stops, hotels, and local governments will each have their own regulations to follow. A travel adviser can help track those requirements for you, but most people will need to prepare on their own. In some cases, getting tested or quarantining will keep you from carrying out your intended plans.
“You can make travel plans and you can reasonably certain you’ll have them, but if something changes from a regulatory side, from the airlines not doing carriage to certain destinations, you’re going to have to be prepared to change that pretty quick,” he said. “The good news right now is even if we’re staring down a pretty intimidating fall or winter when it comes to the virus, the testing protocols now are so much further along than they were in March.”
While those modifications may be easier for travelers on the road, they will also need to keep in mind that rest stops might be closed. Traditional services on highways may not be available and more precautions will be needed at gas stations, including wearing a mask and additional layers of protection for gas pumps.
“Living in Colorado now that we’re one of 31 states with the case counts rising to the degree that they are, it means there’s just going to be more travel restrictions,” McKinley said. “It’s more important than ever that you check the regulations in place for the jurisdiction that you’re visiting.”
McKinley recommends you travel on days that may be less crowded like Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after but also leave time to get tested before you travel. When you return home, you may need to have time for a test as well. AAA says start planning now because it will be different than in previous years and you will need to consider what is an essential trip depending on the status of the virus. In some cases, if you’re traveling by car you may need to avoid making any stop to help communities lacking the resources to treat COVID-19 at the same level as other jurisdictions.
“It’s incumbent on us, especially those of us who live in metro areas, not to stop and not to do any sort of risk exposure if we can mitigate it,” he said. “I know a lot of health authorities will say, maybe this Thanksgiving try something smaller and maybe more localized.”
See a breakdown on travel restrictions and guidelines from state to state by AAA: https://triptik.aaa.com/