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As Many Return Home Following Thanksgiving, Concerns Linger Over Spread Of COVID-19

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- The TSA screened more than 900,000 travelers for seven days leading up to Thanksgiving -- that's the most air passengers they've seen since March.

Now, those people are likely coming home, which is why Saturday was projected to be the busiest day to fly during the Thanksgiving holiday.

It's not the 3.2 million travelers LAX saw last year during this time, but things were busier than they'd been in a long time on Saturday as many came home to tighter restrictions as coronavirus cases continue to climb.

There wasn't much social distancing inside LAX as crowds gathered to check-in and head home from the holiday weekend.

"I was just out here visiting family," one traveler said.

The rising cases of coronavirus in L.A. and nationwide were on the minds of travelers.

"I wipe down everything with hand sanitizer wipes they give me, eyewear, mask wear -- just keep as much covered as possible," traveler Deanna Johnson said.

For those returning home to Southern California, they landed to sunshine to tighter restrictions.

"It's a 14-day quarantine, self-isolation, with immediate family members, trying to not expose anyone because we traveled," traveler Brandon Rodriguez said.

Brandon Rodriquez was in Hawaii for the last week, and upon his return, he'll now need to follow the state recommendations to stay in, since he traveled out of the state.

"I think it's a good idea," he said.

Also on his flight were the Cristlers from Rowland Heights, who wanted to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in Hawaii but had their trip cut short due to an issue there with the negative coronavirus test results they brought back.

"We had our COVID-19 test before we left but it's wasn't good enough," Joyce Cristler said. "If we stayed there, we had to be locked in our hotel and we couldn't even leave to eat."

They were told the COVID tests they had done before they left weren't the right kind.

"They treated us like criminals," said her husband Bob Cristler. "We had armed guard the whole time we were there. We couldn't go to the restroom by ourselves, we couldn't go buy food or anything."

For the Christler, it was a lesson on traveling during a pandemic, as states continue to tighten restrictions, change recommendations, and cancel services, among other guidelines to make sure travelers don't spread the coronavirus.

Some travelers are welcoming the protocols, and say it's in their best interest to follow them.

"It wasn't too much!" Johnson said. "It was a little more complicated coming into L.A., having to do the extra paperwork but it makes the city safer so it doesn't hurt."

If you traveled out of the country this holiday, the CDC is recommending you not just self-quarantine, but get two coronavirus tests -- one within the first couple of days from returning home, and a second on days 5 to 7, just to make sure you don't infect others.

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