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Virginia travelers return home from Thanksgiving amid coronavirus pandemic

Locals give a glimpse into their holiday celebrations and precautions they’re taking as they return

ROANOKE, Va. – While lines form at baggage claim and traffic piles up on roadways, travelers are returning home after celebrating Thanksgiving.

Brian and Taylor Schiltz returned to Roanoke from Arizona Sunday after eating a feast with nearly 20 people. A trip they don’t regret as their anxiety built during the coronavirus pandemic, waiting to see their loved ones.

“You kind of start to lose your sanity a little bit,” Brian Schiltz said. “So it was kind of a big deal to be back there and get a little bit of normal.”

Despite wearing masks and the airline passing out disinfectant wipes, Taylor is going to monitor her symptoms over the next few days while Brian takes a COVID-19 test.

“Before I return to work I’ll get tested and make sure the results come back favorable before I interact with anyone there,” Brian said.

Other people took precautions at the Thanksgiving dinner table, like Deanna Barnett.

“We masked when we were in the house and then we ate our Thanksgiving meal outside at separate tables,” Barnett said. “So we felt pretty safe just spending it with our immediate family.”

As Bernard Tate heads back to Manassas from Bristol, he said he only interacted with a handful of family members and doesn’t plan to quarantine.

“After all, I am just driving through Virginia. It’s not like I am going to Timbuktu or something,” Tate said.

But for travelers like Lou Baodo, a test awaits him.

“I have to get tested in the last 72 hours so that’s what I’ll do,” Baodo said.

Baodo is driving back to New York and the state requires travelers to take a test and quarantine for three days.

As Baodo continues on his 14-hour trip he carries plenty of hand sanitizer, masks and gloves.

“So when I go to the gas pump. There surgical gloves. So I can peel them off and throw them in the garbage,” he said.

It’s the small precautions Baodo was willing to take to spend time with his family this season.


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