It’s the first July 4th after a year of pandemic-induced shutdowns, and Americans are partying and traveling like it’s 1999.
About 3.5 million travelers are expected to pass through US airports during the weekend of July 4, according to AAA. That makes it the busiest travel period since the start of the pandemic.
Air check numbers have surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time, according to the Transportation Security Administration. AAA expects air travel this weekend to rise to 164% of its level during the same period in 2020.
The perennial favorite of regional parties, Las Vegas, expects the crowds to compete with the pre-closing era, as the Strip slowly comes to life.
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But all is not well for those travelers.
At least 300 flights at JFK airport were canceled or delayed over the weekend of July 4 due to a water leak at the airport’s control tower. A Twitter message was issued from the airport on Saturday night, as the FAA maintained outbound flights bound for JFK for about an hour.
In Los Angeles, the mask requirements for indoor activities have returned. Regardless of the vaccination status, the authorities recommend that masks be used for any activity in closed spaces. The Delta variant of COVID-19, which allegedly originated in India, is responsible for 20% of all new Covid-19 infections in the US, compared to 10% a week ago.
Elsewhere in Southern California, sanitation workers began the arduous and time-consuming job of cleaning up the homeless camp that took over Venice Beach. Workers have packed trash and waste, and homeless residents have been offered relocation to area shelters, according to the Los Angeles Times.