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Air traffic picks up despite travel bans against Florida travelers

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The coronavirus could be re-routing summer getaways as several states restrict travelers from Florida.

Despite that, many airlines are reporting an uptick in travel.

According to officials with the Tallahassee International Airport, preliminary data shows June travel was down about 80 to 85% from the year before. But that’s compared to a decrease of about 97% in April.

“We’re seeing both the number of flights and the passengers trending in that upward direction,” said Jim Durwin, Deputy Director of Aviation at the Tallahassee International Airport.

Some area travel agencies are starting to see an increase of calls, but not without some changes.

"People are somewhat afraid about going on an airplane, being in close proximity with a lot of other people," said Gil Gamache, owner of Sun World Travel in Tallahassee.

Gamache says they are noticing a lot of travelers rescheduling plans for 2021. He says, they're also choosing to stay on US soil.

"Domestic travel is picking up because people feel safer going to a national park than they would going to a European destination," Gamache said. "Of course, you can't go to the European destinations now until the ban is lifted, but we have several people booked for national parks."

Many airports are reporting more flights starting to take off, despite several states with restrictions.

According to Delta Airlines, about 10 states are now requiring anyone traveling from Florida to quarantine for 14 days. That includes Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois (if traveling to Chicago) Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Vermont.

Some states, like New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii are restricting travel from anyone out of state.

Other states, like California, do not have state wide travel bans, but local municipalities have enacted restrictions.

With Florida being singled out by many, Governor Ron DeSantis addressed this during a press conference on Monday.

"They can do what they want to Florida, I would not do that if I were them. When I took the action against the Northeast, it was factually the case that tens of thousands were coming to Miami right at the height," the Governor said.

As we draw nearer to the heat of summer, airport officials are hopeful to see more packed bags.

"We think it's going to be a slow trend, but we think we'll get back to normal numbers over the next several months," Durwin said.

Airport officials are also adding they are working to inform travelers of the extra safety precautions being taken both by airlines and airport staff, like extra sanitation efforts, requiring masks and social distancing.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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