CDC issues travel warning ahead of Labor Day weekend, passengers at SFO weigh risks

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KGO) -- With the long Labor Day holiday weekend ahead, the CDC is issuing a warning to the unvaccinated.

"First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced Tuesday.

The push comes amid one of the worst surges in the COVID-19 pandemic, with health officials seeing coronavirus hospitalizations across the country hitting a seven-month high.

RELATED: CDC recommends unvaccinated not to travel Labor Day weekend

Dr. Walensky also urged ticketed passengers who took the vaccine to reconsider and weigh the risk.

"We got vaccinated," Sacramento resident Prance Rehal shared at SFO. "One of the reasons why we did get vaccinated is so we could travel."

Rehal said it took plenty of planning and prior air travel experience to get to a place where air travel is possible.

"We traveled during the pandemic before," he added. "So, I think now, we're much more comfortable."

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The indoor mandate is aimed to avoid a surge in highly-contagious Delta variant cases. Honolulu joins San Francisco and New York in similar rules.



However, with cases on the rise, it's clear air travel could get turbulent.

San Jose resident Elizabeth Cechariah and her husband were grounded on Thursday. They missed their flight because of delayed COVID test results. The couple was unable to meet their airline's requirements.

"Yesterday I got my results. My husband's results are not in," Cechariah told ABC7 News. "Lot of stress. So today we paid $300 and take another test. It came, but now we cannot travel."

Finally taking their anniversary trip, Heli Patel and David Coreano said the decision to travel was less about Labor Day weekend, and more about how their destination, Spain, is dealing with COVID-19.

RELATED: European Union recommends reinstating COVID-related restrictions on US tourists

"Actually, I just learned that they're one of the countries that are most vaccinated in Europe," Coreano said. "So, feeling a little assured about that."

Patel added, "It's just at a point where you just have to see for yourself, and how do you feel. And we feel pretty good about it."

On Thursday, SFO Duty Manager Russell Mackey called the upcoming Labor Day weekend another "normal COVID holiday weekend" for the airport. He said any changes to come after the CDC travel warning will be up to specific airlines.

"You always want to double check the airline website," Mackey reminded. "And you also want to double check the country to where you're flying and make sure you're aware of any special requirements that they have for re-entry into the U.S."

He encouraged travelers to be mindful of the pandemic, and is urging them to understand what it'll take to return home.


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