HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Most passengers traveling through the Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) had no problems flying this week, and some even felt safe doing so. Unsurprisingly, HIA has been a lot quieter and easier to navigate than some other major airports.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, typically one of the busiest travel days of the year, was not so busy due to the impending COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think there was probably more people on the 20th leaving here out of Harrisburg than there was today coming back to Harrisburg,” said traveler Michael Snyder.
Other passengers, like Bridget Kedzierski, said they were surprised to find how empty the airports were.
“I’ve been here for a week. It was lovely. I left O’Hare. It was empty. I got here it was empty and as you can see it’s empty now,” said Kedzierski.
Pennsylvania is requiring a negative COVID-19 test to enter the Commonwealth, or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
“I found that out the day before travel,” said Kedzierski. “It was difficult to get the test but I was able to get it done and I was negative so that was good, but nobody ever checked to see that I was negative when I got here.”
The TSA screened more than eight million people nationwide between Friday, November 20, and Saturday, Nov. 28.
Other travelers, like Kelsi Harmon were surprised by the amount of travelers despite the COVID-19 advisements. “You wouldn’t really be able to tell there’s a pandemic going on like with travel.”
Even so, less than half the traffic was seen from a year ago. Despite the warnings, Thanksgiving day was worth the risk for some.
“Honestly travel has been fine. I mean I feel like all of the airlines do a pretty good job of socially distancing people on the planes and trying to keep everything as sanitized as possible,” said Harmon.
It’s not just traveling itself, but those large and small family gatherings that could prove problematic.
Even after Thanksgiving, public health officials are still discouraging travel. Dr. Anthony Fauci says we could be seeing surge after surge of COVID-19 cases because of holiday travel.