With the nation in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases, fewer people are expected to make their annual treks to gather with friends and family this Thanksgiving.
Lancaster County set a daily record for new COVID-19 cases this weekend when it recorded 465 Sunday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. That’s 97 more new cases than the previous record of 368 set Thursday. Another 181 new county cases were recorded Monday.
AAA is anticipating at least a 10% drop from last year’s 55 million travelers, the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008.
“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Paula Twidale, AAA Travel senior vice president. “The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure.”
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is projecting a 20% drop in traffic on its highway, from 3.6 million to 2.8 million, for the Thanksgiving holiday — today through Sunday — as compared to the same period in 2019.
“With the guidance not to travel, you will find fewer cars on our roadway than in prior years during this holiday,” said turnpike CEO Mark Compton.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on Friday issued an order requiring anyone visiting from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth. According to the order, if someone can’t get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days when they arrive.
Pennsylvania residents traveling outside the state are required to quarantine for 14 days if they don’t have proof they tested negative for the coronavirus, according to the state health department.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. is projected to be $2.17 this holiday season, according to GasBuddy, a price-tracking website that monitors prices at 147 gas stations in Lancaster County and 150,000 across the U.S.
The national average Sunday was $2.10. In Pennsylvania, the average was $2.47, while in Lancaster it was $2.54.
AccuWeather is calling for an unseasonably warm and rainy Thanksgiving Day, with the temperature reaching a high of 62 before dropping to 44 Thursday night.
Today will be partly sunny with a high of 48 and a low of 33, and the rest of the holiday week will be cloudy with temperatures in the low to high 50s during the day and low 30s to mid-40s at night.
State and local law enforcement will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.
The holiday season impaired driving campaign begins Wednesday and runs through New Year’s Day.
During the same period last year, there were 1,175 crashes resulting in 31 deaths, according to state Department of Transportation data.
Law enforcement also are making sure drivers and passengers are buckled up and that children are secured in child safety seats through the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which runs through Sunday.