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Quarantined Christmas no more

Updated: Jan 8

By Suzannah Young

Photo Credit to Pexels

Think back to last Christmas – or what we now remember as The Quarantined Christmas. For students on campus, travelling home was difficult, sometimes scary, and in some cases, not even possible. Despite this, those fortunate enough to be at home for the holidays experienced limited family gatherings, broken traditions, and cancelled events.

According to a repost from Triple A (AAA), numbers of both automobile and air travelers decreased significantly in 2020, with 25 percent less people traveling on the road than in 2019, and 60 percent less traveling by plane.

Still, those who did travel during the 2020 holiday season undoubtedly saw the economic impact of the pandemic on the transportation industry as a benefit to their personal bank account. Not only were flights cheaper, but gas prices were also lower and traffic was not as heavy.

So, what can we expect for the 2021 holiday season?

In the U.S., AAA predicts travel for Thanksgiving 2021 will rebound to near pre-pandemic levels, with 53.4 million Americans expected to travel for the holiday—a 13 percent increase from last year.

Still, junior communications major, Anjali Anirude, said that, unfortunately, the pandemic is still taking a toll on her family’s holiday plans.

“Usually, we will have family come in from all over the country and have a huge Christmas party, but with COVID, it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen this year,” Anirude said.

Last year, Barry housing and residence life officials offered students the ability to stay on campus over winter break free of charge. This year, however, housing and residence life has returned to its original policy. Those students who decide to stay on campus over the break will be charged.

As a commuter student from Miami, Anirude said that even though she did not have to travel home over winter break, the pandemic holiday of 2020 was not the same.

“Last year, our family wasn’t able to come down to Miami, so I miss having us all together,” Anirude said.

Photo Credit to Pexels

While Anirude and her family are still having a somewhat isolated Christmas, others, like junior communications major Dominique Pineda, are excited to be able to travel somewhat normally again.

Pineda and her family are originally from Honduras, but have lived in the U.S. for a few years. Normally, they travel home to Honduras for the holidays. They even braved the trip last Christmas.

“Christmas is the most special holiday for my family, so we try to go [to Honduras] every year,” Pineda said. “The whole family tries to get together in December even though we all live in different places.”

Other students have travel plans involving their friends.

Senior psychology major Vivian Brinkmann, for example, lives in Germany with her family, but this year, she does not plan to travel home.

“Last year I was in Germany for the whole holiday,” Brinkmann said. “[This year] I just want to be in Miami with my friends and have a different kind of Christmas. I am hoping that I can travel around the United States or maybe even to Mexico.”

If you are taking a vacation this holiday season or traveling home, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks when utilizing public transportation and recommends researching the local COVID-19 guidelines for their destinations.

For the unvaccinated, the CDC recommends the above, as well as maintaining social distancing guidelines, washing hands often, and getting tested upon arrival at your destination or self-quarantining for 10 days if testing is not available.

While vaccine availability and decreased travel restrictions mean more in-person family gatherings this holiday season, the CDC advises celebrating outdoors or increasing the air flow for indoor celebrations.

Since it seems that most Americans are reverting to their original holiday traditions, The Buccaneer hopes Barry students have a safe and happy holiday, wherever they may be celebrating from.

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