Millions still travel despite CDC guidance, Sky Harbor airport employees focus on COVID-19 safety protocols

Airports are not nearly as busy as they normally would be right now, but travel is still hitting new highs since March.

Dec. 2 at Sky Harbor airport was a little bit slower than on Sunday, Nov. 29. The passengers I spoke with today said they did know the Centers for Disease Control recommended they stay home, but said they needed to fly.

The Harms family landed at Sky Harbor to go on a college tour.

"The airport in Minnesota when we left was quiet and everyone was spaced out," said Kirsten Harms.

"Normally, I would take and do all my tours my junior year, but everything was shut down because of the whole pandemic," said Josie Harms.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

They said they felt more comfortable traveling on a sleepy Wednesday morning because of the crowds during the holiday week.

"Our staff was ready. Those are the things that we plan for all year long. It's our Super Bowl. Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season are the times the TSA is ready, we're prepared, we have staff," said TSA Spokesperson Patricia Mancha.

Although daily travelers nationally were only a half or third of last year's, Wednesday and Sunday topped out at over a million flyers.

"We did choose not to do that at that time just because of all the crowds, so today was a good day to fly," said Kirsten.

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

On FOX News Channel, the CDC director recommended people not to travel right now.

"It's not the airlines that's the risk gate to gate, it's getting to the gate, leaving the gate, and getting to where you're going and getting back," said Robert Redfield.

Considering that, Mancha says they've created a new position at Sky Harbor to address the issue.

"Dedicated exclusively to help people maintain social distance, to keep moving, and make sure our staff have personal protective equipment."

The CDC has also recommended travelers get tested for COVID-19 before and after flying.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise, the CDC strongly recommended you do not fly during the holiday season as well. I asked the TSA what they anticipate for Christmas week travel. They said the year has been so abnormal that they won't make any predictions, but they'll be ready.

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news:

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

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