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New AAA Poll of Virginia Drivers Finds COVID Concerns Have Dropped Dramatically

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RICHMOND — AAA is projecting that more than 1.4 million Virginians will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 11 percent over last year — falling just shy of the number of pre-pandemic Thanksgiving travelers in 2019.

As usual, the great majority of those travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations. AAA is projecting that 92 percent — more than 1.3 million Virginians will be hitting the road — the fourth-highest number since AAA has been keeping record.

The dramatic bounce back in travel compared to last year is in keeping with the findings of a new AAA poll of Virginia residents. Only 9 percent feel traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday poses a significant risk for COVID. This is in contrast to a similar poll last year where 33 percent felt holiday travel posed a significant risk for COVID.

“Both the Thanksgiving travel projections and the results of AAA’s statewide poll tell the same story. Thanksgiving travelers see COVID in the rearview mirror and they are looking forward to returning to the pre-pandemic tradition of gathering with family and friends,” says Morgan Dean, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Travelers should expect — and plan for — both the roadways and airports to be as busy as ever.”

AAA projects that the number of Virginians traveling on the road to their destinations (1.3 million) will be up 7 percent over last year, falling nearly 5 percent short of the pre-pandemic auto travel over Thanksgiving in 2019.

AAA is projecting 94,000 Virginians will take to the skies, a jump of 75 percent over last year, but still down 16 percent from the number of Virginians flying over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2019.

AAA is projecting that nearly 16,000 will travel by bus, train or some other mode of transportation over the holiday weekend, a jump of 257 percent over last year when travel in a group setting was by far as low as it has been since AAA has been keeping record. But, the 2021 numbers are still 45% below 2019.

AAA defines the Thanksgiving holiday as the five-day period from Wednesday, November 24 – Sunday, November 28.

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