MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — According to AAA, fewer people will be stopping to fill up for gas as they head out of town for Thanksgiving as the company anticipates the largest one-year decrease in Thanksgiving travelers since the Great Recession in 2008.
However, as some people are still preparing to travel, the lines to get tested for the virus keep getting longer.
On Saturday the State of Maryland reported a daily new high of 51,510 COVID-19 tests, smashing all previous records according to Gov. Larry Hogan.
Montgomery County also reported high numbers of testing a week before the November holiday, with more than 13,000 tests administered in six days compared to 8,022 the previous week, according to a Montgomery County spokesperson.
Connie Johnson said her daughter took a COVID-19 test as a safety precaution before she came home from college. Another way she said her family’s Thanksgiving holiday is different from years' past.
“We decided six weeks ago that the family coming from out of state wouldn't come just because everyone's concerned about the potential for spread,” Johnson said. Instead, she said the holiday will be spent with her immediate family.
According to AAA fewer Americans are traveling this Thanksgiving because of the pandemic.
“Based on mid-October forecast models, AAA would have expected up to 50 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving — a drop from 55 million in 2019. However, as the holiday approaches and Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel health notices, AAA expects the actual number of holiday travelers will be even lower,” a AAA statement read.
On Nov. 12, AAA anticipated 95 percent of all holiday travel would by automobile and said those who did decide to travel would be likely to go shorter distances and reduce the number of days they are away.
AAA anticipated air travel volume would have the largest one-year decrease on record with a projected 47.5 percent decrease in holiday travelers.
AAA's anticipated projections were published before the CDC announced its Thanksgiving guidelines urging Americans to stay home for the holiday.