Air traffic is picking up for this Thanksgiving holiday at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
“We’re experiencing reports of all airlines that flights are packed, flights are booked up to 100 percent,” explained Courtney Pene, a representative of the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
For passengers, it means having a checklist.
“Face mask, hand sanitizer, vaccine card, all that stuff,” said Joe Szabo, who traveled from Florida to spend Thanksgiving in San Luis Obispo.
Santa Barbara Airport reported that a total of 30,270 passengers traveled in Oct. 2020; however, in Oct. 2021, that number tripled to 94,424.
On the other hand, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport is expecting to finally rebound after last year’s dismal numbers.
“In November of 2019, we had about 46,000 passengers coming through the terminal, which is quite substantial for our airport,” said Pene. “Last year November 2020, we saw about 22,000 passengers coming through our airport whether it be departing or arrival and then this year we anticipate pre-pandemic numbers.”
Face masks continue to be a federal requirement, which is why it is important to carry several extra ones.
“If passengers forget their face coverings, airlines have face coverings for them, but they cannot board the aircraft without them,” explained Pene.
Health experts keep the use of face coverings as a top recommendation.
“Planes are pretty well ventilated, probably the more dangerous times is the airport and gathering in crowds and gathering close to people that who don’t know their status and you don’t know if they’re infected,” said Dr. Mark Soll, a critical care physician with Tenet Health Central Coast.
To stay safe this busy holiday season, community members are asked to adhere to the same rules established for the nearly two years since the pandemic began: frequent hand washing, social distancing, and COVID-19 booster shots.
“We have not achieved herd humanity and in fact, with the vaccine starting to wear out we might be slipping further away from herd humanity, so it is important for people to get vaccinated and boosted as possible,” added Dr. Soll.
The key is to stay prepared.
“Hospitalizations are kind of a mixed bag,” said Dr. Soll. “Certainly hospitalizations in the vaccinated population are less common but unfortunately, unvaccinated people are getting hospitalized, and they’re getting sick and we’re taking care of them at the ICU.”
The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport is asking travelers to give themselves some extra time for parking and to check in with the airlines as it will get busier as it gets closer to thanksgiving.
If you are concerned about traveling with your vaccination card or can not find it, remember you can download it through the California Department Of Public Health’s website.