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How Magic Valley Regional Airport is handling Thanksgiving travel

Posted at 9:17 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 10:16:06-05

TWIN FALLS — Despite the CDC advising not to travel this Thanksgiving, people all over the country are heading home to be with friends and family. The Magic Valley Regional Airport is working hard to create a safe environment for all holiday travelers.

A large area of concern from the CDC's standpoint is crowds gathering in lines and terminals. However, due to the Magic Valley Regional Airport's size, there is not much concern about having many people in one concentrated area. Still, the airport isn't taking chances and instated numerous safety protocols, such as requiring masks.

"We've used increased sanitation quite a bit, you know all the touchpoints, and we've got hand sanitizer here," said airport manager Bill Carberry. "We're trying to do all of those things to make people feel comfortable about coming out to the airport and flying the airlines."

The airport is experiencing an uptick in travelers from the summer months, yet there are still fewer numbers than in comparison to this time last year. .

"We're certainly seeing increased travelers, nothing quite like last year or years past. I'd still say we're probably twenty to thirty percent off from a traditional Thanksgiving travel out here. A lot of folks are probably driving or staying at home," said Carberry.

With the increase in airline passengers for the holidays and to keep people safer, the airport has even added one extra daily flight to Salt Lake City, making it four instead of the usual three. The airport anticipates a large turnout of travelers the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward.

While some may find traveling very dangerous, Tilden Swallow, a man visiting Twin on business and plans to fly back to be with his family for Thanksgiving, expressed his confidence in airlines and airports efforts to keep people safe.

"I'm more concerned about going into a convenient store and getting whatever you need there than flying... you come in here and pretty much at the airports, everyone wears masks, and people are cleaning. Then you get on board, and people are wearing masks, and people are cleaning, I feel very safe flying," said Swallow.

Despite warnings from the CDC, many who choose to travel are heavily encouraged to follow as many safety precautions as possible. Travelers are also advised to check the guidelines of whichever state they're going to before their flight.

"Check with the states that they're traveling to for any restrictions. Or other things related to quarantine, all the states are a little bit different," said Carberry.

Since it is difficult to forecast the future of what will happen with COVID-19, especially with recent announcements of a possible vaccine in mid-December, the airport is unsure of what travel may look like then. However, they do anticipate a similar scenario to what has occurred this Thanksgiving season for Christmas.