Thanksgiving travel rush: About 60,000 pass through Miami International Airport

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami International Airport had smaller crowds than last year, but airport officials said there were still about 60,000 travelers passing through during the Thanksgiving travel rush. They are preparing for Sunday — the busiest travel day.

Airports around the country are dealing with some of the largest crowds since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Federal authorities estimate more than 900,000 people passed through TSA checkpoints each day from Friday to Wednesday.

There were plexiglass barriers, hand sanitizing stations, testing areas, and face mask requirements. People who were flying to foreign countries said testing was required. But as families ignored the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s pleas to avoid travel, there was a lack of social distancing.

On Wednesday, crowding was unavoidable at TSA checkpoints, food retail areas, and on planes.

A kiosk displays a message encouraging wearing face masks and social distancing as passengers wait in line at Miami International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Federal Aviation Administration officials are asking airline passengers who will be returning home after Thanksgiving to get tested three to five days after travel and to stay home a week. People who decide not to get tested should stay home for two weeks after travel, officials said.

This is concerning to epidemiologists in South Florida who have been worried about the holiday season’s impact on hospital capacity. The Florida Department of Health has recorded more than 960,000 coronavirus infections and over 18,250 COVID-19 deaths in the state. Cases around the country are rising to an average of more than 174,000 per day.


Here are some precautions to help you celebrate Thanksgiving safely:

  • Celebrate at home with the people you live with and host a virtual gathering.
  • If you decide to risk hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, do it outside, limit the number of guests, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use. Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils. Limit the number of people in food preparation areas, have one person who is wearing protection serve food, or have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If you decide to attend a gathering, bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils. Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled. Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer. Stay at least 6 feet apart, or about two arm lengths, from anyone who does not live with you.
  • When you are around people you don’t live with, wear a face mask with two or more layers over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your face mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others such as by leaving them on the porch.

Source: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.