Crowded beaches in Florida that grabbed headlines at the height of the coronavirus pandemic are now signaling a return to normalcy on Memorial Day.
This year, AAA predicted more than 37 million people nationwide would travel for Memorial Day weekend -- up 60% from last year.
On Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration reported 1.2 million more travelers came through American airports than the same day last year.
“The airport was great. Last year, the airport was literally dead, which made traveling really nice. This year, it was more crowded, but we didn’t have a problem,” said Nick Hernandez, who was traveling from Kansas City.
According to AAA, Orlando is the top destination among its travel bookings this year.
“A lot more things are opening up,” Thad Whitacker said. “People are enjoying the scenery, the beaches.”
Memorial Day marks one of the first holidays since the COVID-19 vaccine has been made available for the majority of Americans.
“We are pretty comfortable right now, especially with the vaccinated stuff, but we are still doing the distance and stuff,” said Keith Noel, who was traveling from Gainesville.
In Florida, nearly 40% of people are fully vaccinated. As of the latest numbers released Friday, the percent of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Florida has been below 4% for seven days in a row.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises fully vaccinated Americans traveling to self-monitor for symptoms and wear a mask while on any type of public transit.
“If you are vaccinated, you are protected and you can enjoy your Memorial Day,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “And if you are not vaccinated, our guidance has not changed for you. You remain at risk for infection.”