FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Another year and sadly another Covid-19 Christmas, and again warning of large gatherings for the holidays.
Health experts warn the omicron variant could be the next uninvited guest at the family party.
But it’s a mixed bag when it comes to people’s concerns.
On Monday night, outside FLL, the arrivals area was busy and many passengers that flew into South Florida expressed that they are not worried about the virus and will be playing it safe, but also enjoying the holiday season.
“Busy, very busy,” one traveler said.
One passenger said, “It’s unfortunate that we’re dealing with the pandemic but, um, we got more important things, family, friends.”
“If we stick by the rules, then I think it’s OK,” said another passenger.
A woman visiting from New York said “We’re wearing two masks, and um, we’re trying to be very careful. We also left New York at 27 degrees and we came here at 77 degrees.”
Starting Tuesday through Jan. 6, 2.6 million passengers are expected to travel through MIA. It is a 6% boost from 2019.
Traveler Karla Sanavria said the key is to keep the get-togethers modest and observe safety protocols.
“Keeping it small, making sure everyone is vaccinated, or using our masks, just because I want to be as safe as possible,” she said.
At a busy MIA, Monday, people heading home for the holidays are also mixed on their concerns.
“We’re keeping it small this year. My stepmom has cancer. We’re keeping our family small for Christmas,” said Angie Parker, who was traveling home to Kentucky.
“I do worry about it, but I’m not that concerned,” said Matias Romero, who was traveling home to Argentina.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava shared her thoughts on the spread of the new variant and family gatherings.
“Everyone needs to be safe. We do not know who has been vaccinated,” she said. “If you feel confident that you are in a safe setting, you could relax your guard a little bit, but better to be outdoors and masked.”
Doctors advise, don’t change plans just yet, but stay informed.
“You don’t get into a situation where you go to an airport, you don’t have a mask on, you’re in an indoor congregate setting, that’s what I mean about being careful,” said Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, “but when you’re in the home with vaccinated and boosted people, you can feel comfortable in enjoying the holiday celebrations.”
“If everyone is vaccinated, boosted, and you’re keeping in mind testing and masking, you’re good to go,” said Dr. G.
Dr. G said it’s important that people know their medical, vaccination and booster status, as well as that of their families.
“Where it gets tricky is households where folks aren’t vaccinated, not boosted. There could perhaps be young unvaccinated children in the household, older folks with underlying conditions,” said Dr. G.
As for what’s ahead in 2022.
“If we can turn this illness into more of a nuisance than a killer, that’s a good thing. You know we’ve achieved a lot, but we still have a long way to go, unfortunately,” said a passenger.
Those headed for the airport this week are advised to arrive three hours before domestic flights and three and a half hours before international flights.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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