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Many families reconsidering their holiday travel plans during pandemic

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WAMC
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With COVID-19 restrictions in place around the country, many families are making the decision to alter or completely forgo their holiday travel plans.

Webster resident Michelle Putnam and her family plan to spend Thanksgiving with relatives in Plattsburgh, in the northern part of New York state.

Putnam said her family originally planned to spend a day in Vermont but decided against it because the family would need to be tested before and after their overnight stay.

Although Putnam and her family plan to travel within the state this year, they are being extra careful. She said in preparation for their visit, her family members have chosen to self-isolate and are paying close attention to the infection rates and their exposure every day. She said they will cancel their trip if necessary.

“With the different colors that are going on with the counties, if something stipulated say, red or whatnot, then obviously we would change our plans then as well,” said Putnam.

Mendon resident Tracey McGrath has been paying close attention to the restrictions as well. One of her daughters attends college in Sarasota, Florida. McGrath said her daughter won’t be coming home for the Thanksgiving holiday, but they are already preparing for when she returns home in December.

“She’ll take a COVID test four days before she comes home. She’ll fly home and quarantine and take a test four days later,” said McGrath.

McGrath said she also won’t be hosting dozens of relatives like she has done in previous years. Instead, her family will have Thanksgiving on a much smaller scale.

“This year, it’s just going to be the three of us," said McGrath. “We already discussed it. Nobody feels comfortable having people in the house. Nobody wants to expose anybody.”

Hilary Bluestein-Lyon’s family won’t be traveling, either. She said that she contracted the coronavirus in March and her family has had some recent exposure scares. Her two sons will be on break from Rochester Institute of Technology and the State University of New York at Fredonia, but she doesn’t have any concerns about them visiting home.

“RIT has been doing a great job at keeping the numbers low there ... for students who live on campus. I feel pretty safe about him coming home," Bluestein-Lyons said of her youngest son.

“My son who goes to Fredonia lives off-campus in an apartment, and he’s been pretty restrictive about the people he spends time with,” she added.

According to April Engram, a communications specialist with AAA, the agency is predicting a decrease in holiday travel this year. It also expects people will wait longer to finalize their travel decisions.

For those who decide to do so, the company provides an updated COVID-19 restrictions map on their website.