COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With coronavirus cases on the rise, the CDC and public health officials are recommending against travel for the thanksgiving holiday.

That warning has many families making tough decisions on who to invite to thanksgiving this year, If anyone, and whether or not the travel is worth the risk.

“Thanksgiving is my Mom’s favorite holiday so, I mean, I had to go for that,” said Dillon Kenney, a student at the University of Dayton who was waiting for his flight from Columbus to Denver. “It was a very tough decision especially because I have a lot of family down in Colorado and I want to see them really bad.”

“It’s been sad. A lot of Facetiming and a lot of talking on the phone and visiting with our two granddaughters via facetime,” said Cindy Schweibold of Dayton, who was waiting for her son to arrive from Seattle.

Because of the pandemic, this year the airport is offering only half as many flights during what is usually their busiest time.

According to the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, 65,000 passengers are expected to depart between November 18th and 30th. That’s down 60% from last year when 160,000 passengers departed.

The number of scheduled flights in that same time period has also declined. There are978 this year, compared to 1,844 in 2019.

For some, that means even more travel.

“So today I’ve been from Dallas to Chicago to Columbus, picking up my daughter and now I’m flying back to Dallas,” said DeWayne Dickens “Thankfully, all the flights I’ve been on, everyone’s wearing their mask. They’ve listened to all the directions the airlines
given us so I felt safe today.”

Travelers say they’re willing to take the risk and travel while also doing everything they can to reduce it.

“I actually got tested two days ago. Came back negative,” Kenney said. “No symptoms. Nothing like that”

“It’s just important to see family. I mean, we miss them. We want to see them. And we’re doing everything we can do to be safe,” Dickens said. “We’re taking the precautions. We’re flying on airlines that limit the number of people that are on them. We’re
wearing masks, washing hands.”

“There is a risk. My husband and I feel like it’s worth it to see them. Originally, we host 27 of our family members at our house and this year there’s going to be my son from Seattle and my daughter from Cleveland. So that’s how it’s changed. Much smaller.
Much cozier,” Schweibold said.

Public health officials still say the best way to keep your family and community safe is to not travel, and celebrate with the people already in your home. The Ohio Department of Health has published a holiday celebrations guide with tips on how to observe everything from Diwali to Christmas.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources: