PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – TSA says Christmas travel is expected to be the busiest travel season since the pandemic began.
It comes after a busy Thanksgiving travel season. On Sunday, the TSA viewed nearly 2.5 million people.
With the advent of the Omicron option, domestic travel will not be a problem, but travel abroad may change.
“The demand really exists for travel. People are doing their best to travel,” said Lindley Dick, a travel agent with Greater Pittsburgh Travel.
The United States has banned foreign travel to the country from South Africa, where the Omicron variant was originally found, as well as from several neighboring countries.
Several countries, such as Japan, have already suspended international flights or temporarily banned travel from high-risk countries.
Now the United States is seeking action.
Currently, everyone entering the U.S. must be screened in three days, but now government officials want to require testing for COVID-19 for anyone entering the country the day before departure and after landing, regardless of vaccination status.
There is currently no quarantine requirement when you return to the country, but this is a proposal being considered by the CDC.
Diec doesn’t think this will slow down the number of trips.
“Demand is still there. Travelers who have the same conditions will always be worried. They have other things to consider, but now I don’t see a big influx of cancellations,” Dick said.
If people do not follow the rules of travel abroad, the White House says fines and other fines may be levied.
“That’s why the CDC is considering a number of measures,” said Dr. Vivek Merty, U.S. surgeon general. “He has not yet fully decided what he is implementing, but I believe some of the measures he is considering will have a significant impact on our ability to detect the virus before it arrives here.”
In January, the federal mandate on masks, which requires the use of masks at airports and on flights, ends.
However, the CDC says they will monitor high-traffic airports to see how the virus is spreading.
“The CDC is currently expanding its XpresCheck surveillance program to JFK, San Francisco, Newark and Atlanta – four of the country’s busiest international airports,” said CDC Director Dr. Rachel Valenski. “This program allows us to increase the amount of testing on COVID for individual international arrivals, increasing our ability to identify people with COVID-19 on arrival in the United States and enhancing our observation of the Omicron option.”
The World Health Organization says people over 60 or anyone with a major disease should stop international travel at this time.
This decision was made after it was discovered that the new option poses an increased risk of infection.