TAMPA, Fla. — This Labor Day weekend, half the country is planning to travel in some capacity, according to a study by finance website Value Penguin, and Florida is the top destination.
Tampa International Airport is expecting 48,000 travelers over the weekend. That’s down from 65,000 in 2019, but double what they saw last year.
Orlando International Airport is expecting more travelers than this weekend in 2019, they are expecting more than 303,000 departures, a 7% increase.
The Tampa airport has been exceptionally busy in recent months, but a spokesperson tells ABC Action News it’s slowed down a bit as more people head back to school.
For a short holiday weekend, many will opt to drive. AAA said that could be pricey with the lingering effects of Hurricane Ida.
The storm shut down about 13% of refineries, and many are still shut down or running at reduced rates and slowed pipeline transports. This is resulting in the highest gas prices for Labor Day weekend since 2014.
In Florida, gas is averaging about $3.19 as of Friday morning.
“With a category four storm that typically takes three-plus weeks for refineries to get started again and get back to normal operations. We don’t have a timeline from those refineries that when they’ll be operating again,” Jeanette Casselano, the Director of AAA External Communications said.
If you’re flying this weekend, the airport suggests you arrive at least two hours early and there is still a mask mandate in place.
If you are traveling, the CDC recommends you wear a mask wherever you go, vaccinated or not.
If you’re not vaccinated, the CDC recommends you do not travel.
Florida is one of five states with less than 10% of ICU beds available, doctors are also asking people who are unvaccinated to stay home.