CHICAGO - While the number of holiday travelers is drastically down this year, many are still putting the CDC coronavirus warnings to the side in hopes of having a merry Christmas away from home.
"All shut in, nothing to do, had to get out of Chicago, had to see some family members too," said South Side resident Octavious Moody.
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport had a lot less foot traffic two days before Christmas. Still, everyone was wearing masks and there was certainly a lot of space to socially distance, and also very few long lines.
Tim Schulz just dropped off his daughter who was headed to Seattle.
"There was no line. She just walked up to somebody after she got her boarding pass, easy peezy, walked right through," he said.
"It’s kinda weird seeing not that many people during the holidays," said Shannon Lytle, who was traveling to see family.
According to the TSA, 992,000 people passed through Chicago airports on Wednesday. That total was double during this same time last year.
AAA says 34-million fewer Americans will travel this holiday season as a result of the pandemic. However, around 84-million people are still expected to fly.
"We are going to likely to see some uptick from Christmas and New Years in hospitalizations and cases, so I’m concerned about that," Gov. JB Pritzker said.
As more than 100,000 Illinois residents have already received their COVID shot, the CDC still recommends a pause on all non-essential travel.
Folks are choosing to fly anyhow, still practicing various precautions.
"Wash my hands every chance I get, not take my mask off. Pretty much follow same rules they give us," Moody said.