CHICAGO — As many Americans look to travel for Labor Day weekend amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the TSA and other leaders look to take precautions to avoid a spike in cases.
With air travel passenger volumes steadily rising, the TSA said they are working to ensure travelers are aware of new safety measures.
“I’m making sure to wear a mask, wash my hands, wearing sunglasses to keep eye protection,” student Krishnan Perumbala said.
These precautions include TSA agents wearing masks, gloves and face shields while conducting security checks. Checkpoint surfaces and equipment will also be regularly cleaned, with some airports featuring touchless technology as well.
These measures have made some travelers feel safer getting on an airplane during a pandemic.
“They started to up their sanitation policies so we started to feel a little bit more comfortable after that happened so they opened us to travel,” Cody Heyer said, a flier from Richmond, Virginia.
“It’s a little bit easier nowadays because the airports are a lot less full these days, so there are pros and cons,” Heyer said.
While air traffic is noticeably higher than it was for the July 4 weekend, the TSA still reduced their recommended to get to the airport to 1-2 hours prior to a flight.
The travel itinerary app “TripIt” projected that millions of Americans will travel this weekend, but only a third of the fliers last Labor Day weekend saw.
Despite air traffic rebounding, AAA predicts that 97% of Americans traveling this Labor Day weekend will be using their cars, already leading to an increase in highway traffic across the region and country.
In Chicago, Friday afternoon traffic saw drastic increase, particularly on eastbound expressways where many Chicago area residents are expected to visit Indiana and Michigan.
There is some reprieve for the vast amount of road travelers this weekend, as Labor Day weekend gas prices are at their lowest average since 2004.
As for celebrating safely this Labor Day weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends keeping it small.
“If you’re going to do it socially with other people, don’t make it a large crowd,” Fauci said. “A couple of friends that you’re intimately connected with.”
Public health experts fear a possible surge in COVID-19 cases following this weekend if proper precautions are not taken.