East. Iowa Airport Seeing More Holiday Traffic Despite Warnings
Whether it be pandemic fatigue or growing disgust with the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality, travelers are not heeding warnings to stay home this Christmas.
KCRG reports the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID) is experiencing an uptick in visitors. Since last Thursday, December 17 through the time of this writing, CID Marketing and Communications Director Pamela Hillman says they've seen about 1,000 passengers a day. That's up from 300 a day that's been common during the pandemic. They don't want to drive away passengers, but they know safety is paramount.
They're increasing protocols at CID to handle the uptick in passenger volume. TSA has allowed extra hand sanitizer through checkpoints, and they discourage folks from wrapping gifts they're bringing along in the event TSA has to inspect them. At least one travel agency in Cedar Rapids is not offering bowl packages this season, to alleviate travel, yes, but also due to lack of interest.
It was also announced this week that due to a COVID outbreak within the program, at least one of the state's two bowl-bound teams is on shaky ground. The Iowa Hawkeyes will be halting in-person football operations, including practice, until December 26. The game is set to be held on December 30. Iowa State, on the other hand, is Fiesta Bowl-bound on January 2.
According to Hillman, the current most popular holiday travel destinations have been higher-risk COVID areas. Coming back out of those bubbles, travelers could certainly risk increasing the spread, said Hillman. Confidence in travel is increasing due to the announcements of vaccines, but health experts remain concerned because those vaccines only work, of course, after they're administered, and many travelers and those they are visiting may not be close to the front of the line yet.