Bay Area airports, highways already seeing holiday travelers despite COVID-19 warning

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Thanksgiving 2020 is upon us and many in the Bay Area took to the skies and the highways ahead of the holiday at the risk of growing coronavirus cases and disregarding travel warnings that they stay home.

The Shell gas station on Fitzgerald Drive in Pinole is a popular spot for people to get gas before heading out on Highway 80 on their way out of town.

Pamela Banks, who lives in Richmond, was fueling up but she's not traveling this holiday, and she's disappointed that so many people are.

"I am very discouraged and I feel that it's just going to set us back farther," she says.

Her family is planning a small gathering this year. But millions of others are already on the move.

VIDEO:COVID-19 holiday travel: Guidance for every Bay Area county on testing, gatherings, quarantine
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As we inch closer to Thanksgiving 2020, there are some mixed messages about holiday travel. Can you get tested for COVID-19 and then travel to see family or friends? The answer from health officials depends on which Bay Area county you live in.

"I think that as long as we do it safely and wear masks and take precautions, it's ok," says Adam McBain, who lives San Francisco. "We didn't travel for the longest time and eventually, we feel like, we just kind of have to get out,"

He flying from San Francisco International Airport to Palm Springs to be with his family.

Like many, he knows the warning against traveling for the holidays. But many passengers say, with safety precautions in place, and if they are careful at their final destination, they hope to stay safe.

Brett Pollard, an Oakland resident says, "It's not like I am itching to go out to party or anything like that. I have been safe. I have been social distancing. I've been getting my tests regularly. I agree (with the travel advisories). But also, I want to continue to be safe, (but) just fly home to see my family just for one day!"

More than four million passengers have flown since Saturday. That's the most since the pandemic began in mid-March.

RELATED: Want to get a COVID-19 test in time for the holidays? Here's what you need to know

Andre Barnard says his situation is a bit different. His wife is traveling to Portland for work. They decided the whole family would go, so they are together for Thanksgiving.

"I think we have to smart and be safe. (But) we can't go through life living in fear. We just can't. So, we have to continue on living and going, and stepping out on faith," says Barnard.

Some travel guidelines from health officials include to know the situation in the city or country you are traveling to. If it is high risk area, it may be necessary to take extra precautions.

They also recommend to get tested before traveling back to the Bay Area.

COVID-19 RISK CALCULATOR: The safest and most dangerous things to do this holiday season

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