NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Labor day weekend is just days away but you may want to think twice before packing a bag and hitting the road.
Amid the pandemic, health experts are urging people to delay their vacation plans.
The CDC is asking people who are not fully vaccinated to hold off on travel plans. That’s because when you travel you have a greater chance of coming in contact with other people and potentially getting the virus.
UAMS, Professor of Internal Medicine, Dr. Robert Hopkins says this group is more likely to be hospitalized or die because of COVID-19.
He adds that hospitals in the region are already being pushed to the limit and the last thing they need is a spike in cases.
He goes further to say he doesn’t recommend anyone to travel right now, regardless of vaccination status.
“Remember we have many hospitals including ours that are short-staffed of nurses and when you are short of staff that means you have fewer beds that can be staffed. That potentially reduces the capacity to take care of motorcycle accidents, heart attacks, and broken hips,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins says this virus is widespread in the community and with the delta variant circulating the risks are too high.
The best way to reduce the spread of this is for people to continue wearing masks and avoiding gathering.
If you’re going to travel keep it to your immediate household. When you get back monitor yourself for any COVID-19 symptoms. Get tested if you start to feel sick.
A spokesperson with AAA, Nick Chabarria tells us road trips have been preferred by families throughout the pandemic and you can expect the same for labor day weekend
He says more families are choosing to hit the road because it offers more flexibility. It also gives people better control of who and what they come in contact with.
However, travelers will be spending a few more bucks for gas this weekend.
The state-wide average is $2.84. You can expect to see higher gas prices nationwide.
“Here are AAA, we were already expecting a 3- 5% increase in average gas prices across the board leading into the labor day holiday weekend just because of the increased demand… Now it could be a little bit more than that with the effects of Hurricane Ida,” said Chabarria.
Now the earlier you leave the better for you. If you want to avoid being stuck in traffic his advice is to hit the road in the morning before lunchtime Thursday or Friday. The same timeframe is recommended on Sunday.
Chabarria adds that with the rise of COVID -19 cases nationwide, you should take a second look at your itinerary. Are some of the sites you’re interested in limiting hours, is showing proof of vaccination required?
In general, make sure the check the guidelines and restrictions for the state you are visiting.