Labor Day weekend travel rush back to pre-pandemic numbers

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Salt Lake City International Airport is seeing a Labor Day weekend, reminiscent of pre-pandemic times.

There are concerns about the pandemic as Utahns continue to pack into airports during a hospitalization surge in our state.

As Utahns celebrate the final holiday of the summer, many hoped for a return to normal.

“It seemed a lot more back to normal. There weren’t spaces in between seats, you just have to wear a mask continuously. For some people that’s bothersome… for others it’s okay…but it seemed back normal as it used to be,” traveler John Brown says.  

“It feels like it’s almost – minus wearing the mask of course – it feels like it’s almost normal,” Delta Pilot Spencer Johnson shares.

While the CDC director warned that unvaccinated people shouldn’t travel over Labor Day, there was no signs of a slowdown.

This comes as the airport reported over 26,000 travelers on Friday, 17,600 on Saturday, 18,000 on Sunday, and about 24,500 Monday.   

“I really haven’t noticed any difference with the latest variant. I think people still want to get out and want to travel,” Johnson explains.

Despite the CDC’s warning, many travelers said they are not surprised to see close to the same number of Labor Day travelers as 2019. 

“I don’t think anyone is going to listen to that whatsoever,” traveler Chad Bennett shares.  

“If they were listening…a lot more Americans would be vaccinated right now,” traveler Tony Chaves says.  

Even as the Delta variant spreads, many Utahns said they feel more comfortable traveling right now.  

“One hundred percent I feel a lot more comfortable this year traveling than last year,” traveler Tony Chaves continues.

“I would say 80% because a lot of people haven’t got their vaccinations yet,” traveler Patricia Chaves says.

While some travelers are being extra cautious, many are choosing to not let the pandemic change their plans.  

“I have the vaccine, but you know my kids can’t yet, so that is scarier. So, I try to be extra careful when I travel so I’m not carrying it home to them,” traveler Alysha Milligan states.

“COVID has turned everything crazy so it’s time for everybody to get some fresh air and get out there,” Bennett said.  

“I have no disregard with traveling at this point. I would recommend that if people want to travel travel,” Brown says.  

Many travelers told ABC4 News most of the people they’ve seen pack into airports and planes are following the rules for the simple fact that they can’t fly if they don’t.  

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