Memorial Day weekend rush hour lacks the rush during coronavirus pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- At Rush Hour last year, the Kennedy downtown was packed.

On Friday, traffic was moving along just fine.

Many people have been forced to adjust their holiday plans as they deal with the coronavirus crisis.

For the first time in 20 years, AAA did not do their Memorial Day weekend travel survey. Last year AAA said 43 million Americans hit the roads and skies.

That's all changed.

"Due to this pandemic, we do believe that this will probably be a record low number of people traveling," said AAA spokesperson Molly Hart.

But mechanic Matt Tefka at Fulton-Desplaines Garage said he has seen an uptick in business over the past two weeks, people gearing up to go out this holiday weekend.

"A lot of oil changes, a lot of routine matenancethat we weren't necessarily seeing a month ago," Tefka said. "It's my opinion that people are jumping on the road and starting to get out and about."

People like Alicia Skruba, gassing up to visit family out of state in Michigan this Memorial Day weekend.

"We were going crazy. We've been in the city for eight weeks now in the same three blocks just walking the dog, and we had to go," Skruba said.

In Illinois, some state parks like Chain-O-Lakes are open, with some restrictions on boating. The Chicago lakefront and beaches are still closed. Green spaces in parks are open, but people are asked to wear masks and social distance.

Wisconsin and some areas of Indiana have easing Covid-19 restrictions opening more parks and restaurants, even campgrounds.

Meanwhile others are opting to stay close and socially distant for family and health reasons.
"I have a 90 year old father," said John Baker wearing a mask and walking his dog in the West Loop. "For me if it keeps him safe, I'm on board."

AAA does expect travel to pickup near the end of summer as more stay-at-home orders are expected to be lifted around the country.
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