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Monterey airport sees increase in traffic despite travel advisory

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MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) As we approach Thanksgiving, the Monterey Regional Airport said it is seeing an uptick in traffic, even though California issued a travel advisory.

“It’s not what we normally see but it’s much stronger than what we’ve seen as of late,” Monterey Regional Airport Executive Director Michael LaPier said. “We typically see a very strong holiday period, particularly around Thanksgiving, that’s one of our bigger travel periods.”

Airport officials do not have exact numbers yet, but said they have seen more people coming through since the weekend and expect the trend to continue.

Despite the pandemic and travel advisories, flyers coming to Monterey told KION they took a chance to see their loved ones for the holidays.

Emilia Morales is just one flyer we met departing Tuesday from Monterey. She's a frontline worker who came home for the holidays this weekend.

“I work in Washington, D.C. and so I just wanted to see my family,” Morales said.

She’s headed back now, but after flying a bit during COVID times, she knows the drill.

“I do feel safe, as long as, you know, the basics: hand washing, wearing your mask, sanitizing your area prior to sitting down," Morales said.

On the other hand, Judy Farling arriving here from Wisconsin is a bit concerned about the virus while traveling.

“A little worried, more in the airport than on the plane itself. United, I knew, did a really good job at cleaning it,” Farling said.

But is taking a chance to see her boyfriend in Monterey after a long time.

“We’ve had a lot of months go by where we don’t see each other, but I was really willing to take a risk of getting out here,” Farling said.

Millions of people across the nation are flying for Thanksgiving.

Sunday was the busiest day at U.S. airports since March 16th despite surging coronavirus cases and warnings from health officials against traveling.

California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories a week and a half ago in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. State officials are urging people entering states and returning from outside the stated to self-quarantine for 14 days.

As for California's travel advisory, LaPier said, “we do not police that, we don’t have the authority to do that. Our advice is: do what you feel comfortable doing. We are very confident that our airport and the airline industry are safe.”

The travel advisory is self enforced.

There are some changes the airport and airlines are making to limit the spread, like more touch-less check-ins, sanitizing and no food and beverage service on the planes.

Holidays / Monterey / Monterey County / News / Top Stories / Travel

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Elisha Machado

Elisha Machado is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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