PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Video shot Friday morning shows passengers crowding around gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor a day after the CDC called for people to cancel their Thanksgiving travel plans.
"This is about as crowded as it was before COVID hit," said Ed Westerfield, who shot the video before boarding a flight to Puerto Vallarta. "This is just jam-packed."
Every year, there are travelers who tote part of their Thanksgiving feast with them on the plane, according to the TSA. If the food is solid, it's allowed in carry-ons. Many Thanksgiving staples, however, have to be checked or left behind.
Westerfield said that most people were trying to social distance and be respectful, but that there were so many people it was "going to be an issue."
On the CDC's website, "Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year." Not everyone at Sky Harbor Friday knew about the CDC's recommendation.
"I actually didn't know that," said Rory Acosta, who was traveling back home to Colorado. "Now you've got me more nervous! So you know I probably won't be traveling after a while until this thing is over, to be honest with you."
Other travelers said the CDC's recommendation wouldn't change their plans.
"It doesn't trouble me at all," said Curt Vurpillat, who was about to take a quick trip to Chicago. "Not that I don't think it's real, but I have a life to live and things to do, so we take necessary precautions."
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving, and has posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.
Health experts say that if you do need to travel, they recommend that you wear both a face mask and a face shield. You should sanitize frequently and get tested for the coronavirus before you visit with others outside your household.
"And if there's any possibility of limiting, you know, our contact with others and limiting it to outdoors as opposed to indoors, all these things would be preferable," said Dr. Shad Marvasti, an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
You don't have to be a kid to wish the car ride home for the holidays would speed up. But if there was ever a time to stop, look and proceed with caution, it's 2020, the year of a pandemic that's claimed nearly 1.4 million lives globally, including more than a quarter of a million people in the United States.
Still, Dr. Marvasti warns that travel now is much more dangerous than it was a few months ago.
"Just the odds are that there's going to be someone on the plane if not multiple people who have it, and you're going to get exposed to it," Dr. Shad Marvasti said.
Dr. Shad Marvasti says he wishes the CDC came out with their guidance earlier, and agrees that people should cancel their Thanksgiving travel plans.
"Yeah, I think the CDC has recommended that we not have our travel plans as before because of the pandemic and because of the nature of it," he said.
Are you traveling out of @PHXSkyHarbor for the Thanksgiving holiday?Stop by the PPE vending machines: Masks, hand sanitizers and other items are available at our Rental Car Center and inside the terminals. #ReadyForEveryJourney #PHXMore details: https://t.co/nYLSyl1QXb pic.twitter.com/LvbPL0RxFg— City of Phoenix, AZ (@CityofPhoenixAZ) November 20, 2020