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Travelers try ‘anything possible’ to safely fly for Thanksgiving against CDC advice

MIAMI – Tabitha Cervantes and her two sisters have a flight to catch.

The Homestead residents are headed to Texas — as safely as they can — to see their family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Double masks, Germ-X, alcohol, wipes — anything possible to keep from the COVID,” Cervantes said Monday while heading to her flight at Miami International Airport.

Asked if she second-guessed the trip after the CDC recommended people not travel this Thanksgiving, she said “I did, but, I don’t think [the pandemic is] going to stop any time soon.”

Similarly, Maria Cristina Gonzalez was is flying home to Chile on Monday.

“It’s the everyday responsibility,” she said of safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “This is not going to go away in one week. This is not going to go away just because it’s Thanksgiving. We need to take care of ourselves until we get the vaccine.”

While MIA typically sees about 120,000-130,000 passengers a day this time of year, those numbers are down, to about half.

“We’re projecting to be the busiest week since the pandemic for us,” said Greg Chin of the Miami-Dade aviation department. “As an airport and as the airlines go, we believe we’re doing everything we can to make people feel safe and feel confident about traveling. ... What they do after and before is out of our control.”

Many people are getting tested ahead of the holiday. The busiest testing site in the state, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, tested more than 3,300 people in one day this weekend, a record.

“We’re anticipating increased demand,” said Mike Jachles of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “So, we’re telling people to allow at least three days for those results, so you need to really plan ahead. If you’re traveling on Wednesday, Monday is really the day you need to get that test done.”

That’s something the Cervantes sisters say they did not do.

“We’re concerned,” Tabitha Cervantes said, “but we’re trying anything possible to not touch anything.”


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