Despite pandemic warnings, Sea-Tac airport airport sees steady traffic on Christmas Eve

Millions across the U.S. have traveled through an airport in the last week. Many came through Sea-Tac International Airport on Christmas Eve.

SEATAC, Wash — In a year like no other and despite statewide restrictions, many last-minute travelers decided to fly Christmas Eve. 

The federal Transportation Security Administration said a record 1.19 million people nationwide traveled through an airport check-point on Wednesday.

Travel on Christmas Eve is expected to be lower than in previous years but since Dec/ 18, TSA has seen roughly a million people go through airports every day. 

“Follow the rules, stay the distance, keep your mask on, but if you want to be around your loved ones, what do you do?” said traveler Deana Storms.

Storms flew from Santa Barbara to visit extended family. Storms said her family plans to get tested for coronavirus and quarantine for two weeks once they return to California. 

Last-minute travelers from out of state visiting loved ones in Washington are likely breaking Gov. Jay Inslee’s ban on indoor gatherings.

According to the order, “Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering.”

The order is in effect until at least Jan. 4, 2021. But it has not been strictly enforced. 

While it’s not required, the governor has also asked people traveling from out of state to quarantine for two weeks. Many arriving to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Christmas Eve said they will not be in the state for two weeks and therefore could not follow the request. 

“Honestly, I don’t know if I can quarantine. I’ll have to keep it between me and my uncle and get home safely,” said a traveler who gave his name as Ezra.

People we spoke to leaving Sea-Tac airport say they plan to quarantine once they return.

“I’ll have to talk to my job and see what we’ll do about the two week thing but definitely, definitely plan to follow the governor’s order and guidelines,” traveler Christopher Fongging said.

Washington is currently reporting roughly 2,000 new coronavirus cases daily.

Doctors and experts have warned about a Christmas spike. If the spike occurs, those case numbers will start appearing in the first few weeks of 2021. 

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