Travelers explain why they aren’t staying home for Thanksgiving despite health officials’ warnings

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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Thanksgiving is the latest holiday that will be celebrated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. State and local health officials agree it’s best to just stay home.

But travelers tell us they’re opting to hit the road, despite a spike in COVID-19 cases around the Midwest.

“We don’t want anybody’s Thanksgiving dinner to turn into a Covid-19 super spreader event,” said Illinois Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike during Wednesday’s daily briefing.

The day before Thanksgiving is typically one of the biggest travel days of the year. But COVID-19 has health experts asking people to rethink their holiday plans.

“I’d like to try to implore one more time for people who might still be planning that get together with multiple households and friends who are not in their immediate household to please reconsider,” Dr. Ezike added.

Travelers we talked to at the Belvidere Oasis say although they’re hitting the roads this year, the pandemic is still forcing them to adapt.

“We’re just going to go visit our son at Purdue. He lives in a house, he’s not even on-campus, and we’re going to try to make Thanksgiving dinner in his college kitchen,” said Eva Crawford.

Minnesota native Eva Crawford says she’d rather spend the holiday with her mom and dad.

“I haven’t seen my folks in over a year. We’re not seeing family. And if we do visit my in-laws, we’ll probably just say hi through the window and call on the phone,” she added.

“This is a deviation from year’s past. We normally visit my parents, but given the rise in Covid cases in Wisconsin, we decided it was just not a good idea,” said Ann Hanson.

With their traditional plans canceled, Ann Hanson and her family are taking a road trip from Wisconsin to Michigan to have dinner at their lakehouse.

“We decided since we’re not going to be seeing my parents we may as well just go and have a change of scenery and make it a different experience this year,” Hanson said. “We’re just trying to limit stops as much as possible, and then when we are stopping, we’re making sure that we’re all wearing masks and washing our hands and not spending a lot of time inside.”

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