COVID-19, roadway risks remain as Labor Day weekend travel picks up

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Labor Day weekend is traditionally the last big travel period of the summer, but this Labor Day has a different look because of the pandemic. 

Airline bookings are up this weekend compared to previous months when passenger traffic virtually came to a standstill, but airline activity is still way down from normal levels. 

While there may seem to be plenty of flights scheduled, some airlines have been limiting the number of passengers per flight to accommodate social distancing. 

At Sacramento International Airport, passenger traffic was slightly higher than the national average in recent weeks, although it was far from busy Friday. 

“Airports are lot more spacious, not too many people in there,” said holiday traveler LaMont Cobb. “It’s pretty good for those who have to continue to travel.” 

Cobb now lives in Las Vegas and will be flying back in the next few days. He said it’s safer at the airport than in most public places. 

“I see a lot of recklessness here within the city going in and out of some of the stores here,” Cobb told FOX40. “But at the airport, people are pretty cautious.” 

Others, though, find more comfort on the road. 

“I mean, I definitely managed trying to avoid flying,” said traveler Eric Johnson.

Johnson was helping his son move from California to Minnesota by car and would just as soon stay on the ground. 

“In this case, it’s a move but I don’t want to get on a plane,” Johnson said. 

Those who chose to be on the road this weekend may be benefitting from the pandemic. Gas prices haven’t been this low on a Labor Day weekend since 2004. 

Prices are often dictated by supply and demand. The lower prices are present nationwide. 

For those who are traveling this weekend, a higher percentage will be driving and usually on shorter trips. 

That’s enough for the California Highway Patrol to have all hands on deck beginning at 6 p.m. Friday until Monday. 

“Vacation location or they’re just going to visit family. I know with the situation that it is now people might be traveling less but we’re still going to have our maximum enforcement period,” said CHP Officer Greg Zumstein. 

Hashmatullah Noori will be staying at home for the weekend, saying the risk of getting sick is as big a concern as wayward drivers. 

“If you don’t need to go for picnics or going out for fun, it’s a little risky,” Noori said. 

Last year, 45 people died on California roadways during the Labor Day weekend and there were 1,000 DUI arrests. 

Even with fewer drivers, the CHP said this year the numbers could still be higher than on a normal weekend. 

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