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Many traveling for the holidays, despite COVID surge and warnings from the CDC

Many travelers say they haven’t seen their families in months. With their masks on and bags in hand, they made their way to their planes.

NORFOLK, Va. — After a hard year, people say that all they want to do is spend the holidays with their families.

Traveler Rick Specht said, “It’s just special because I’m not home a lot anyway so any chance to get home is super important to me.”

At Norfolk International Airport, officials say Thursday is expected to be the busiest travel day since the pandemic began!

“It’s been a while since I’ve been able to see my family. I’m just ready to get back home,” explained traveler Kenneth Manning.

Many travelers say they haven’t seen their families in months. With their masks on and bags in hand, they made their way to their planes.

“It’s been pretty hard being away. It doesn’t help that they are not really able to travel just because all of the COVID,” Manning said.

Airport officials say the lines stayed busy all day at baggage claim and TSA.

“We are expecting over 4,000 passengers to fly out today,” explained Steve Sterling.

Sterling is Norfolk Airport Authority Deputy Executive Director. He said while they are seeing a peak in traveling this week, the airport is still seeing low travel numbers for the year.

“Year over year we are down about 50 percent, so this time last year, we had probably almost double the number of travelers that we are having today but still, relatively speaking during the pandemic times, we are having a very busy day today,” he said.

Sterling said he expects another small peak next week as people make their way back to Hampton Roads after spending the holidays with loved ones.

“I’ll spend a week with them and I’ll come back after the New Year,” said Specht.

If you are driving instead of flying this year, VDOT said buckle up and don’t drive distracted.

  • VDOT will lift most lane closures from noon on Thursday, Dec. 24, until noon on Monday, Dec. 28.
  • While the lane closure lift is in effect for most areas, motorists may encounter semi-permanent work zones that remain in place during this time.
  • During the holiday weekend, with the potential for more cars and families on the road, motorists are reminded to operate their vehicles at a safe speed. Allow extra time to get to your destination, if you must travel.
  • VDOT’s free mobile 511 app, available online, offers information about construction, traffic, incidents and congestion as well as access to traffic cameras, weather and more. Traffic information is also available at 511Virginia.org, or by calling 511 from any phone.
  • Due to COVID-19 traffic volume and travel patterns are varying widely from historical data, it is uncertain how traffic volumes may impact roadways during this holiday period. Please check Virginia 511 prior to departing on your trip.
  • I-64/I-264/I-564 HOV Diamond Lanes and 64 Express Lanes – HOV restrictions and express lanes tolls will be lifted on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. The 64 Express Lanes in Norfolk are free and open to motorists outside of normal operating hours, including Sundays.

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