Finally. Most Utahns are preparing to leave the city.
More than 2 in 3 plan to travel in the near future, and most will head beyond the borders of the hive state, according to a new Deseret News / Hinckley Institute of Politics poll.
The results come as Utah adds more than 1.4 million doses of adult arms vaccine across the state.
They are an indicator that people are becoming more optimistic about the end of the pandemic, said Scott Rasmussen, the independent pollster who conducted the survey of 1,000 registered voters in Utah in the last week of March. The survey has a margin of error of about 3.1 percentage points.
“The general message here is that people are fed up with the pandemic,” Rasmussen told Deseret News. “They see the end is in sight.”
Those traveling through the interior of the state can finally go visit a loved one, Rasmussen noted, and plan more to leave Utah by car than by plane.
“So it’s not like everyone is leaving the airport,” he said.
However, he noted, the data collected by the Transportation Security Administration points to rising travel rates.
More than 1.5 million people went to airport security checks on Thursday. The figure is still well below the more than 2 million that were broadcast daily in 2019, but much higher than when the pandemic first took over the country.
On April 1, 2020, the TSA examined only 124,021 passengers.
Sarah Franklin is one of those planning to leave Salt Lake City International Airport later this month. He will travel to the Dominican Republic to help build a family home in the nation where many of those who were already scratching to pass have lost their jobs in the tourism-dominated economy.
Franklin, a research scientist at the University of Utah, is also the founder of the nonprofit Hope Humanitarian. In March 2020, the group’s trip to Colombia, where she and other people coordinated medical care for refugees, dwindled amid global outbreaks of COVID-19. After more than a year, the next trip will allow her and other people to help people with the same vulnerability again in person.
Traffic congestion is seen looking north on I-15 from North 400 overpass to Bountiful on April 21, 2005. Ravell Call, Deseret News
“It was hard for us not to be on the ground, but we continued to fund projects with our partner organizations,” Franklin said.
And plan to take precautions to help volunteers stay safe, as well as anyone they interact with. Masks are essential and your group plans to test COVID-19 both before and before your return.
“I think it’s very important to travel responsibly,” Franklin said.
The Deseret News / Hinckley Institute of Politics survey found that more women say no to traveling: 22%, compared to 16% of men. He was asked if a person plans to travel in the near future, but did not specify a specific time period.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday withdrew some guidelines for travelers if they are completely vaccinated.
Leaving the city is not risky for them, as long as they take precautions such as wearing a mask, but the CDC still recommends that potential tourists stay home as the number of cases rises nationwide and worldwide. .
For those with international travel plans, they will not have to take a test before boarding the plane, unless the country they are visiting requires one. Nor will they have to quarantine once they are home.
Dr. Eddie Stenehje, with Intermountain Healthcare, urged Utahns at a press conference Friday to make sure they are fully vaccinated before boarding a plane. He also recommended that they take shots even if they visit different places in the state, such as the red rock views of Utah National Parks.
“The last thing you want to do is go down with COVID-19 on your vacation,” he said. “You just have to think of this as travel insurance.”
Stenehje noted that most airlines no longer keep a central row empty. With the exception of Delta, there are now many carriers flying with full planes. And the middle seats of Delta flights will be refilled from May 1st.
Salt Lake travel agent Amy Cunningham said she receives calls from travelers in two categories. The first group celebrates the vaccine and is now ready to venture out of state.
The other group has no plans to get the vaccine, or is waiting to do so, and is looking for destinations that do not require inoculation of visitors or that have few rules. Many of the second group have booked trips to destinations in Mexico.
“They’re seeing places where they can go with little or no restrictions,” he said.
Cunningham said she hopes it will be a while before she and other travel agents return to normal. But an increase in traffic over the past few weeks has helped propel the business a little closer to a typical spring.
“We are excited about the resuscitation of the industry,” Cunningham said. “We’re excited that people want to go there.”