Holiday travel expected to be down, but Central Oregon likely a hotspot

By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Not surprising, but Thanksgiving travel is projected to be on the lighter side this year due to the coronavirus.

AAA projects a drop of at least 10%.

And with bigger cities like Portland shutdown, more people might make their way to Central Oregon for the holidays.

“People are making last-minute decisions, they are also making decisions to travel close to home,” said Marie Dodds AAA Director, and Government and Public Affairs. “So when you have a great destination spot like Central Oregon, which is already super popular, that is going to be one of the top spots over Thanksgiving.”

Dodds says 95% of travelers will likely drive to their destination.

“We expect the mountain passes to be extremely busy the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving,” said Dodds.

Most travelers at the Redmond airport say they are staying close to home this thanksgiving.

The Redmond airport is running at about 50% of its normal travel, while Portland is at 35 percent.

“We are performing better than some of the larger hubs,” said Zachary Bass, Redmond Airport Director. “I think that makes sense during a pandemic. The more people there are, the more perspective that it is unsafe.”

The airport is expected to be busier than a typical day in 2020, but not like it used to be.

“As it is with every holiday season we are expecting more individuals to be traveling over the next few weeks, but it will not be as busy of course like it has been in the past,” said Bass.

The number of people flying over Thanksgiving is expected to be down half, compared to prior years.

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