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CDC Warning To Stay Home Over Thanksgiving Goes Unheard

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The Center For Disease Control (CDC) warning for travelers to stay home with their immediate family over Thanksgiving has gone unheard by many U.S. travelers.

Despite CDC warnings, this past Friday and Saturday were two of the busiest travel days in U.S. airports since the pandemic began. 

Although air traffic was down 60% from last Thanksgiving,  2 million Americans still transited through airports across the country.

busy airport

With millions of travelers expected to hit the roads before Thanksgiving is said and done, the holiday could prove disastrous for an already out of control COVID-19 situation in the U.S.

The CDC made a last minute attempt to warn American travelers by releasing new travel advice on November 19th that read “As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.”

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” the CDC added. 

The warning came after over 1 million people in the United States tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 7 days. 

thanksgiving family

For those who are still choosing to travel, the CDC has provided a list of recommendations. The guidance includes well-established practices such as hand washing, social distancing, mask-wearing, avoiding contact with confirmed positive cases, and avoiding touching of the face.

Other Thanksgiving specific measures for those travelling to in-person gatherings include bringing your own utensils (or offering single-use options), avoiding having multiple people prepare food, and gathering outdoors when possible.

Mixed Messages Impact Domestic Travel

The warning comes at a time when cases in the United States are reaching all-time highs and international travel to the country remains at a standstill. While the CDC is telling people to stay home, the travel industry has been working tirelessly in an effort to create safe and welcoming destinations for tourists.

Just this week the U.S. Travel Association updated its COVID-19 safety guidelines to help those working in the travel industry continue operating safely and welcoming guests.

mixed messages covid

According to the U.S. Travel Association, the pandemic has cost the U.S. domestic tourism industry $463 billion in cumulative losses. International travel to the US is still at historically low levels due to border restrictions such as the one between Canada and the US that has been extended until at least December 21.

Canada-U.S. Border Will Stay Closed Until at Least Dec 21st

More Mixed Messages

Travelers are confused and with good reason.

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) sent a very strong message in a new warning announced on its website that cruise ship travel comes with a ‘very high risk' of contracting COVID-19

However, the CDC also lifted the ‘No Sail Order'  allegedly bowing to pressure from the White House at the end of October allowing cruise ships to resume operations in the United States under strict new regulations. 

cruise ships docked

To Travel or Not To Travel?

There really is no right or wrong answer. There are no laws that prevent Americans from traveling, but should they?

Only you can decide that for yourself. 

One thing's for sure. If you decide to travel,  wear a mask and do everything you can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the end of the day, people's lives depend on it. 

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Tuesday 24th of November 2020

I love it. Americans finally waking up. As a doctor, I am embarrassed for my profession and the fear mongering we seem to be propagating. American politicians are no better than the Nazi party.


Monday 23rd of November 2020

No I dont use a mask. And you dont need to teach me.


Monday 23rd of November 2020

I have no extended family in my area, and I usually only get to see them once a year if I'm lucky. COVID-19 has already taken many things away from me in 2020, including several vacations, so I'm not staying home for Thanksgiving. My wife and I are going to be with family, and that's final.