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4th of July travel expected to dip during pandemic

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For the first time in more than a decade travel on 4th of July and throughout the summer are expected to decline.

"The auto club is forecasting that people in the Pacific region, which includes California, will be taking 107 million trips of 50 miles or more away from home this summer. That’s July, August and September. That is down about 17 percent from the summer trips last year. It’s also the first time that we’ve seen a decline in summer travel since 2009," AAA spokesperson, Doug Shupe said.

The Riverside County Department of Public Health also urged people to stay at home, and celebrate the holiday only with family members who live in the same household.

News Channel 3 caught up with several travelers passing through a Palm Springs gas station on Friday.

"We’re visiting family, just traveling around, seeing everything, my boyfriend has never been out here," Indiana resident, Veronica Lazaro said.

Lazaro and her family arrived in the desert on Thursday. Friday, they were on their way to San Diego a day before celebrating the holiday.

"We’re going to come back and we're going to go to family’s house-- do fireworks and spend 4th of July over there," Lazaro said.

Spending time has become one of the more popular routes travelers are taking.

"The vast majority of the people that will be traveling this summer will be taking an automobile," Shupe said.

Shupe said people tend to feel more comfortable in their own vehicles. Many of ditched airplanes and trains this holiday.

"We just didn’t have the data prior to Memorial Day or 4th of July to issue a forecast because there were so many uncertainties and there still are but we’re taking a larger look, a 3-month look at how many trips people will be taking," Shupe said.

Many have opted to either stay local or change plans. The pandemic has affected millions of peoples' travel plans with beach closures, statewide restrictions, and limitations on inside dining at restaurants.

On Friday, downtown Palm Springs was bustling with locals and visitors. Lulu California Bistro and Las Casuelas Terraza had guests lining up to sit on the patio.

"It’s so important before we take a long road trip that we inspect our vehicles. Making sure that our fluid levels are topped off, the oil change has been done. You want to make sure that that car or truck is in good working order as the manufacturer recommends," Shupe said.

Many people are opting to go to national and state parks. AAA provided the following links to check on restrictions, and what may be open or closed along your travel route.

AAA.COM/TRIPTIK

AAA.COM/ROADTRIPS

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019 after living in San Francisco for 6 years. Learn more about Shelby here.

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