By Trang Do

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The pandemic is also impacting holiday travel plans. Health officials urged people to stay home, but not everyone heeded their warnings.

Sunday and Monday are the last peak days for end-of-the-year holiday travel at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Airport officials estimate about 316,000 passengers will have traveled through the airport from Dec. 21 through the 28, roughly half of last year’s volume.

“Christmas is important to me to be with family, plus we already had COVID,” said Reka Hall of Georgia, who was visiting her wife’s family in the Philadelphia area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to not travel or spend the holidays with people outside of their households, in response to surging cases of COVID-19. But flyers Eyewitness News spoke to said they are being careful.

”I stick to myself as is, so as far as traveling, I’ve just been taking all precautions,” said Rashawn Reed of Philadelphia. “Just keeping my hands sanitized, keeping my face away from everybody. Six feet.”

The TSA is seeing a spike in travel volume at levels last posted around Thanksgiving. TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter that Dec. 26 was among five days in the last nine that surpassed more than a million passengers screened.

“I have been concerned about a couple packed flights and people not wearing their masks while they’re eating,” said Delaney Murphy of Elmer, NJ, who was flying to Atlanta from Philadelphia. “Just trying to keep myself safe and other people safe for the holidays, because that’s just as important.”

On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said people who still decided to travel or attend holiday gatherings should take steps to protect others.

”The CDC, I’d like to remind people, recommends three to five days after travel, or after you’ve been around people without a mask on, you go out and get tested,” he said. “And getting that test now means that if you were exposed to asymptomatic spread from someone else, we can find out and we can limit your ability to spread to others.”

The Surgeon General is also recommending that those who traveled or attended a gathering should stay away from vulnerable people for 14 days.


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