January 23, 2022

Weekend Travel Burdens

Gas prices high, virus spreads as holiday travel continues

Kevin Conlon/city editor

David Congdon of Moravia fills the tank of his Chevrolet Malibu Friday at the Speedway at Broadway and Tompkins Street in Cortland. Gas prices have increased nearly $1 a gallon in the past year, pushing Congdon to limit his driving.

David Congdon, of Moravia, topped off the gas tank of his Chevrolet Malibu with 7 gallons of gas for $23 Friday afternoon at the Speedway convenience store at Tompkins Street and Broadway in Cortland, the start of the Labor Day weekend.

Congdon said he did not have any particular travel plans, but the price of gasoline, which has increased nearly a dollar per gallon statewide since this time last year, has prompted him to drive less.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked people not to travel during the holiday weekend because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and recent increased spread of infections from the delta variant of the virus.

The American Automobile Association does not release projections of travel for the Labor Day weekend, but it noted that travel has increased this summer nationwide, compared to last year, when the pandemic was unchecked by a vaccine.

Among the most popular destinations in the state are the Thousand Islands, Adirondacks, Finger Lakes, Catskills and Niagara Falls, AAA reports. Popular beyond the state’s borders for families during this holiday weekend are beaches at Myrtle Beach and along the East Coast in general.

Orlando theme parks are a popular destination for those traveling by air, AAA reports.

AAA urged travelers to research and follow the COVID-19 protocols in the states through which they will travel.

For those traveling, the 511NY system provides information about traffic, public transportation and air transportation. By dialling 511 or using the website, information on traffic, weather and other travel information is provided by region. It can be accessed at any time.

Congdon said the ongoing pandemic has not affected his travel plans, but he longs for cheaper gas.

“It would be nice if it went down a little bit,” he said.

Tim Davis, of Cortland, said he also had no plans to travel this weekend, although he and his 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter visited Enchanted Forest Water Safari amusement park in Old Forge for three days, two weeks ago.

After buying a house recently, he downsized to a subcompact Ford — which he filled Friday at the Speedway — from a large GMC sport utility vehicle to save money on gas as he began to pay a mortgage.

Terry Millican, of Dryden, said he had no travel plans over the weekend, but will travel soon to Niagara Falls with his girlfriend, their first trip since the start of the pandemic. He said they have been very careful to follow safety protocols.

“We wear masks everywhere and sanitize like crazy,” he said as he filled his vehicle’s gas tank at the Speedway. “We’re just careful where we’re at.”

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