Can I travel for Thanksgiving? State rules and restrictions explained

ABOUT one million Americans a day packed airports and planes over the weekend before Thanksgiving – and that number is expected to soar.

The first Sunday after Turkey Day is expected to be the busiest travel day of the holiday period despite major concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Can I travel for Thanksgiving this year?

There are few if any restrictions for travel in most states around the country.

The three million people who went through US airport checkpoints from Friday through Sunday marked the biggest crowds since mid-March, when the Covid-19 crisis took hold in the country.

“I don’t want to unknowingly make anyone sick. But I also don’t want to miss this special event for my only daughter,” said Laurie Pearcy of Minneapolis, who is traveling to New Orleans for her daughter’s bridal shower and a small Thanksgiving dinner with her son.

How can I be careful while traveling?

There are many steps you can take if you must travel by air, according to the CDC:

  • Always wear a mask in public places
  • Get a flu shot before you leave on your trip
  • Stay at least six feet apart from people you do not live with
  • Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer
  • Rethink your travel plans

The coronavirus is blamed for more than a quarter-million deaths in the US and over 12 million confirmed infections.

New cases have soared to an all-time high as well, with an average of more than 170,000 per day.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert, told CBS’ Face the Nation that people at airports “are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”

“There is so much community transmission all over the United States that the chances of you encountering somebody that has Covid-19 is actually very, very high, whether it’s on an airplane, at the airport or at a rest area,” said Dr. Syra Madad, an infectious-disease epidemiologist in New York City.

Which states have travel restrictions?

A handful of US states have light restrictions, but most do not have any.

California is urging those who come to the Golden State to self-quarantine for two weeks.

People in Connecticut must also self-quarantine for two weeks after arriving and are required to fill out a travel health form.

Failure to submit the travel health form or to self-quarantine in Connecticut may result in a civil penalty of $500 for each such violation.

People arriving in Hawaii can avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine by providing proof of a negative test, according to The New York Times.

In Maryland, visitors and returning residents are asked to get tested within three days of arriving.

Some other states have similar guidelines, according to The Times.

What are the Thanksgiving Covid rules?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving "is to celebrate at home with the people you live with."

The CDC says: "Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."

Mostly, the CDC asks for people to use common sense.

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