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Many people self-declare their traveling as essential during the pandemic peak

Holiday travel
Holiday passengers are finding ways to move even with the essential travel recommendations from the California Health Dept.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With strong advice from health officials to stay home, close to people they know to be free of COVID-19 and not take any risks right now, many people have chosen to travel for the holiday season.

At the same time, the number of cases have shot up, the death rate has increased, and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity in the Southern California region has plumeted.

Many travelers from the Central Coast are going through Los Angeles International airport. A passenger count in excess of 43,000 was recorded on December 23.

Nationwide, on December 30, 1,163,696 were screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) compared to 2,133,253 a year ago.

In Santa Barbara, a traveler from Orcutt said she was in the area to meet people they knew from Ventura. They chose a halfway point. They planned to meet and eat together, with spacing.

A traveler from the state of Washington without a mask said he was not worried about getting the coronavirus at all.

According to the state orders:


Hotels and lodging cannot accept or honor out-of-state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired. 

When the Regional Stay Home Order is in effect in a region, hotels and lodging can only offer accommodation for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures, treatment measures, accommodation for essential workers, or providing housing solutions, including measures to protect homeless populations. 

Full details on the state rules during the pandemic can be found at : California Department of Health

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and NewsChannel 12. To learn more about John, click here.

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