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TSA screens over 2 million travelers in a single day for first time since March 2020

Travel surges Memorial Day weekend
Air travel reaches pandemic-era highs for Memorial Day weekend 02:17

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2 million air travelers on Friday — the most since March 2020, the travel administration announced on Saturday. 

"The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country's resilience and the high level of confidence in COVID-19 counter measures, to include ready access to vaccines," TSA Acting Administrator Darby LaJoye said in a statement. "TSA stands ready to provide a safe and secure screening process as part of the overall travel experience."

The 2,028,961 people screened on Friday represent 74% of the travel volume for the same day in 2019, and is consistent with pre-pandemic averages of 2 to 2.5 million flyers per day. 

The milestone is a signal that summer travel is picking up again.

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced guidance in April that deemed domestic travel safe for fully vaccinated citizens, and with 142.1 million Americans fully vaccinated as of Friday, more and more people have been traveling. 

Two weeks ago, on Memorial Day weekend from Thursday through Saturday, TSA screened just under 5.5 million travelers

"People have been chomping at the bit to get out there," National Geographic contributor Heather Greenwood Davis said earlier this year, predicting a surge. "It's a brave new world right now," CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg said. 

TSA advised passengers to arrive at airports during these busy months "with sufficient time to accommodate increased screening times as traveler volumes approach, and in some cases surpass, pre-pandemic levels at certain airports."

Masks will be required of all passengers traveling on planes, buses, trains and other means of public transportation in U.S. airports and stations through September 13, according to TSA. 

On Thursday, the CDC amended its face mask recommendations to no longer require fully vaccinated people to wear masks outdoors at travel hubs like airports, train stations and ferry docks. But masks are still recommended by the CDC to be worn indoors while traveling, which includes on airplanes and trains, by both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.  

"CDC will no longer require people to wear a mask in outdoor areas of conveyances and transportation hubs because of the lower risk of transmission outdoors," the update stated. 

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