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Drivers gas up, ready to hit the road for Thanksgiving travel

Posted at 6:17 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 13:05:27-05

You might assume that the week of Thanksgiving is the busiest time for airports. But actually, a lot of people typically drive to see friends and family for the holiday.

“I’m just filling up on gas. I’m going to head home, just finished up all my finals — and that’s Jordan, Montana,” said MSU student Evan Phipps.

Phipps, like so many other travelers, stops to fuel his car before hitting the road, so he can spend Thanksgiving with his family.

But gas stations do see a lot of people daily all touching the same surfaces.

“You know I just wear my mask, sanitize my hands whenever I’m supposed to,” Phipps said.

While road traffic usually increases for Thanksgiving, the Montana Highway Patrol believes this year may be a little different.

“With Thanksgiving we don’t have any extra staffing levels that we’re anticipating. We’re not expecting a huge surge in traffic either, just given the coronavirus pandemic,” explained MHP Trooper Tyler Brant.

And a manager at Casey’s Corner agreed.

“This week alone, it’s slowed down quite a bit. You know, granted winter time coming in. It usually does slow down a little bit, but it’s been slower than normal,” said Ricardo Carinio.

It may just depend on the station; another local gas station who did not want to go on camera said they’ve been slammed this week. But regardless of the store, MHP advises drivers to still be cautious.

“While you’re out traveling, if you're going to be going into any of those businesses, just follow whatever those state orders are. Here in Montana, the governor’s asked us to wear masks and to be putting those masks on if we’re going to be going inside. So if not everybody has to be going inside those businesses, then maybe not have everyone in the family car going inside the business,” Trooper Brant said.

Airport Director Brian Sprenger says Christmas is actually the big holiday for airports, rather than Thanksgiving.