COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The upcoming holiday weekend won’t look like it normally does.
This is the first time in 20 years that AAA is not issuing a Memorial Day travel forecast because COVID-19′s impact on the accuracy of the data used to create those forecasts.
Marquise Melton said he’s traveled in the past for Memorial Day, but will not be heading out of town this year.
“I don’t really travel much anymore because of the disease outbreak and my parents. They are very worried about me," Melton said.
If you’re traveling for the Memorial Day holiday, Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department reminds travelers to continue following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines.
“You could be exposed to anyone whether you go to the grocery store or whether you go to the beach. So, it’s really just being mindful of those guidelines and try to keep your distance," Kirkland said.
For those staying home for the upcoming holiday weekend who might be grilling or having family over, Kirkland warns to keep those gatherings small.
“I know people like to think of it as the beginning of summer and have lots of barbecues and cookouts, but we still have to remember social distancing. We’re not out of the woods yet so we really need to be mindful of the distance we have between us and the person next to us," said Kirkland.
She also cautions against sharing food during meals.
“This year, you definitely don’t want to share drinks or utensils when you’re having dinner or having a meal together. You can visit with each other, but you don’t have to be right next to each other," Kirkland said.
Columbus Health Department officials also talked about a potential increase in COVID-19 cases stemming from Memorial Day weekend.
“There possibly could be. Not everybody is going to abide by the guidelines that the CDC recommends and that’s just something that we’re going to have to deal with, whether it’s Memorial Day or whether that happens in the process of reopening cities and facilities around town," Kirkland explained.
According to AAA, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day weekend last year, which is the second highest amount of travelers since 2000. AAA’s senior vice president said this Memorial Day weekend travel is likely to set a record low with social distancing guidelines still in place.