The director of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention this week asked Americans who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay home during the Labor Day holiday weekend.
“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a news briefing on Tuesday.
Walensky said people who are fully vaccinated should still take precautions. The CDC says of those eligible for vaccines, 38.5% are not fully vaccinated. It recommends travelers get tested 1-3 days before traveling, and another 3-5 days after traveling.
For those who are traveling, gas prices have been on the rise ahead of the Labor Day Weekend, according to AAA. Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast, which were hit by the massive hurricane, play a major role in oil production.
“Drivers will almost assuredly see gas prices rise this week, because of Hurricane Ida’s effects on the Gulf Coast,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a statement Monday. “Based on overnight movement in the futures market, a 10- to 20-cent jump at the pump is not out of the question. Where gas prices go from here will depend on the extent of the damage and how long it will take for fuel production and transportation lines to return to normal.”
Florida’s average gas prices have declined during the past three weeks and were at $2.95 a gallon Sunday for regular unleaded. That was down 3 cents a gallon from the previous week.
News4Jax spent the evening speaking with people in Jacksonville Beach. It was packed with people dining, shopping and bicycling.
April Smith was visiting from Michigan.
“We came here because it’s my husband’s birthday the day after Labor Day, and he’s never seen the ocean,” Smith said.
She said they made a 16-hour drive to Jacksonville Beach and that she and her husband have both been vaccinated.
Mark Harris is local to the Jacksonville Beach area and said he’s welcoming the visitors.
“I’m a big believe in live your life, do it the way you wanna do it,” Harris said. “If people come here and have a good time and travel, so be it.”
Another group of people flew in from Indianapolis for a bachelor party. All said they were vaccinated and are taking precautions.
Traffic at Florida’s busiest airport -- Orlando -- is forecast to exceed pre-pandemic crowds. Officials at Orlando International Airport said Wednesday that this Labor Day weekend they are expecting more than 303,000 departures, a 7% increase above Labor Day weekend in 2019.
The official holiday travel period started Thursday and ends next Tuesday.
The busiest travel day of the holiday weekend is expected to be on Saturday when Orlando International Airport is forecast to have more than 53,000 departures.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.