As the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. and now in North Dakota, the question holidaymakers are asking is, could this change holiday plans?
The simple answer to that — not quite.
The Transportation Security Administration is expecting to screen over 30 million holiday travelers, which they say is near pre-pandemic numbers.
Here in North Dakota, airport officials in Minot say there are not expecting any changes as traffic increases steadily.
“We weren’t quite up to our 2019 numbers but we did very well for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully, our Christmas holiday will bring us back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Airport Director Jennifer Eckman.
While there is no tightening of airport travel restrictions, Eckman says travelers need to heed the travel guidelines.
“Check with their final destinations regarding any vaccinations and or testing. There are certain destinations that require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test prior to departure from the airport,” she said.
Roxanne Vendsel at First District Health Unit says we may want to consider adhering to vaccination requirements and indoor gathering rules of last year.
“Testing three to five days after you return. Obviously, we’ve heard of the standard precautions that we should all take; making sure you’re wearing a mask when you’re in public and when you’re wearing a mask a surgical mask is preferred over a cloth mask,” said Vendsel.
Vendsel is also encouraging frequent handwashing and the use of sanitizer when water and soap are not readily available. She also reminded the public to cover mouths when sneezing and coughing and to stay home if unwell.
In a nutshell, officials say there is no need to cancel plans but traveling by car is highly recommended to minimize the risk of contraction. And as has become the norm, take extra precautions to keep both you and your loved ones safe during this period.