GRR ready for holiday travel amid pandemic

Grand Rapids
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s no place like home for the holidays, but during a pandemic health officials at the state and national level have strongly discouraged traveling this holiday season. 

The United States is on pace to reach 12.5 million cases of COVID-19 three days after hitting 12 million. 

Michigan’s average case load per day is fewer than six thousand, which is lower than last weeks numbers, however the positivity rate remains above 13%.

Despite the continued rise in cases across the country, people will still travel and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is working hard to protect everyone who does elect to fly for the holidays. 

The Ford reported 145,000 passengers Oct. 2020, that’s down 50% from their numbers at the same time last year. Despite this drop, the Ford says there is still plenty of demand to fly in and out of west Michigan.

For that reason, the Ford remains ten percentage points above the industry average in terms of passengers. They’ve stepped up sanitary efforts, with increased sanitation stations, free masks available to all passengers and disinfecting high touch point areas more. 

The Director of Commercial Development at the Ford, Steven Clark, says if you do have to travel, just know what you’re getting yourself into. 

“If you’re gonna travel this holiday season I think first and foremost you gotta understand what any regulations may exist in your destination right? So are there any restrictions from the state, testing requirements? Anything like that and as well, make sure you understand what your airlines expecting too,” Clark said. “Masks are required on board the aircraft at all times… but make sure you also understand any baggage allowances anything particularly… we see a lot of people bring frozen turkeys this time of year… which is always an interesting moment, when you get to your destination and its melted in your bag. If you can take one thing with you, just take patience.”

Clark continued in saying it’s actually a good time for travelers at the Ford as this is the first time in the last seven years there has not been a construction project greeting passengers as they arrive or depart.

While passenger travel has certainly taken a massive hit at the GRR, Clark says their air-cargo shipments have been boosted, especially as more people utilize online shopping this holiday season when in person shopping, like travel, is discouraged.

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