Spring break travel: Airports see record number of flyers since pandemic slowdown
Checkpoint volume hasn't topped 1.5M since March 15, 2020
The number of people traveling through U.S. airports this weekend reached the highest mark in more than a year, as passengers continue to book flights to vacation destinations during the spring break period.
Over 1 million travelers per day passed through airports around the country over the past 11 days, setting new highs since travel came to a near standstill roughly a year ago.
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Sunday screened more than 1.54 million people at U.S. airport checkpoints, hitting a new pandemic record. Checkpoint volume hasn't topped 1.5 million since March 15, 2020.
However, the uptick in travel coincides with a spring break season set against the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting concerns for increased infections while much of the population waits to get inoculated.
Since the pandemic hit, air travel has spiked a few times — mostly around holidays.
Each time, federal health officials have urged residents to stay home until the virus is under control in an effort to avoid a resurgence of cases.
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On its spring break travel page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention echoed similar concerns from prior holidays, saying, "travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time."
One of the agency's guidelines specified that if someone decides to travel, they should avoid crowds and stay about two arm lengths, six feet, from anyone who did not travel with them.
However, unprecedented, and in some cases, unruly crowds have erupted in popular spring break hot spots, overwhelming local officials. In Miami Beach, Florida, law enforcement officers from at least four other agencies, along with SWAT teams, were called on to help contain the raucous crowds after days of partying.
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Miami Beach officials warned Sunday that the unruly spring break crowd gathering by the thousands, fighting in the streets, destroying restaurant property and refusing to wear masks has become a serious threat to public safety. City officials even extended a highly unusual 8 p.m. curfew for another week along famed South Beach, with the possibility of extending it well into April if needed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.