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'I'm Helping Save Lives': UC Davis Cash Incentive Working As Students Skip Spring Break Travel

DAVIS (CBS13) - Spring Break prompted an incredible uptick in travel, but you may see a few more students than usual sticking around at UC Davis. The school handed out $75 gift cards for local businesses to students who didn't travel over the break.

"I definitely considered leaving Davis, no doubt about that. This definitely swayed me into staying," said Abiel Malepeai.

Malepeai took the bait, but taking precautions was already top of mind for him. He works at one of the COVID vaccine kiosks on campus.

"I can care for others by doing this. So that's something I believe. I'm helping save lives," said Malepeai.

But not everyone was staying put. Sunday was expected to be one of the busiest days for air travel since the pandemic began because of Spring Break.

For the last 15 days, TSA says it's screened more than a million passengers each day. That's the longest streak of mass travel since the pandemic began, even topping last year's holiday travel.

"We needed to get our daughter out of the house. She's been stuck at home for so long feeling absolutely miserable," said traveler Beth Worsdell.

Pandemic fatigue is prompting people to travel, but so is a sense of safety. Some are traveling with confidence now that they've been vaccinated.

"I have both of my vaccines so I'm not really worried," said traveler Robin Wright.

But Malepeai is hopeful that the cash incentive at UC Davis did the trick.

"If this is what we got to do to get back to a 'more normal academic experience,' then so be it. And if we're saving lives at the same time, why not?" said Malepeai.

Health officials worry Spring Break travel will cause a spike in COVID cases. The CDC is reminding everyone that only 15% of the population is fully vaccinated.

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