Are you traveling to or from Chicago on this Thanksgiving holiday? You should know this – NBC Chicago
One of the busiest travel weeks of the year – Thanksgiving – is also the deadline for TSA staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
More than 53 million people are expected to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday this year, according to the AAA, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday he had seen “no signs” that the looming COVID-19 mandate for federal employees would cause travel problems.
The federal employee vaccination mandate, which includes religious and medical exceptions but no weekly testing alternative, goes into effect on Monday, just three days before Thanksgiving.
COVID-19 Guide to Thanksgiving Travel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month announced updated guidelines for traveling for Thanksgiving this year, encouraging travelers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The guidelines also suggest wearing masks in indoor public spaces.
Wearing a mask over the nose and mouth is required on public transit traveling to, within, or out of the United States, regardless of vaccination status.
Last week, the CDC endorsed booster vaccines for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for all U.S. adults over the age of 18.
Under the new rules, anyone 18 and older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose.
For those who received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, the waiting time was just two months.
If you’re traveling through the Chicago airports this Thanksgiving
According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, 1.2 million passengers are expected to pass through Chicago O’Hare International Airport and 288,000 through Chicago Midway International Airport this week.
Airport officials recommend getting to the airport well in advance of your flight. When ordering Lyft or Uber, plan your trip ahead of time.
You can check the O’Hare security wait times here and the Midway security wait times here.
If you’re driving around Chicago by car this Thanksgiving
According to the AAA, Chicago is expected to be one of the worst corridors for vacation traffic this week, with more than three times the expected delays.
The worst traffic is expected on the Wednesday before the holiday weekend, as commuters leave work earlier to hit the streets and mingle with vacationers.
Traffic jams are expected on Wednesday, November 24 between 2:45 and 4:45 p.m. in the Chicago area on I-294 West from Morgan Street to Wolfe Road
At this point, traffic is expected to be 329 percent above normal.
Best times for road travel is Thanksgiving week
According to the AAA and INRIX, the best times to drive on the road are:
- Wednesday, November 24th: After 9 p.m.
- Thursday, November 25th: Before 11 a.m.
- Friday, November 26th: Before 11 a.m.
- Saturday, November 27th: Before 12 o’clock
- Sunday, November 28th: Before 12 o’clock
Worst times to road travel in Thanksgiving week
- Wednesday, November 24th: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Thursday, November 25th: 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Friday, November 26th: 13 o’clock,. – 4 p.m.
- Saturday, November 27th: 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Sunday, November 28th: 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
AAA recommends checking the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions map for travel restrictions in your area and TripTik.AAA.com to stay updated on traffic and closings in your area.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published their recommendations for holiday gatherings and related travel, which said the best way to minimize your risk of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated if you have are entitled.