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Despite COVID Cases and Wildfire Smoke, Many Still Coming to Bay Area for Holiday

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Whether traveling by road or in the sky, KPIX on Friday discovered many people weren't about to put their Labor Day holiday weekend plans on hold.

This Labor Day, AAA predicts a record number of people at California beaches. But it's not just wildfires threatening weekend plans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning this week for even vaccinated travelers to think twice about going anywhere as COVID-19 cases climb worldwide.

"People need to take these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. "First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling."

"I thought there would be smoky skies here. I was a little bit concerned," said one traveler who just arrived in Oakland.

Bertha Ansley was traveling from Albuquerque in New Mexico and has never been to California. She flew in to Oakland to visit a friend she hasn't seen in years.

"I'm happy and this is something I'm checking this off my bucket list," said Ansley.

There were also some die-hard baseball fans coming to see the San Francisco Giants and their rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers play a huge three-game series.

"We decided last minute. It's a tight race between the Dodgers and the Giants.
We decided to support the team. Go Dodgers!" said one father and son who flew in from LA.

But for anyone thinking about heading to the Tahoe area, there are area officials doing their best to discourage visitors.

"We are trying to get word out: now is not the time to visit," said Andy Chapman with the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitor Bureaus. "Go to the coast. The coast has fresh air. We still have quite a bit of smoke here."

Lake Tahoe wedding planner and pastor Robert Orr has spent a lifetime marrying couples with the Lake Tahoe backdrop but today he drove away from the smoke filled backdrop to marry a Bay Area couple near Sacramento.

"All the weddings this weekend are postponed or canceled," said Orr. "They were so appreciative and thankful that we were able to come and do their ceremony."

Orr also had to evacuate, but vows to return to Tahoe when he gets the all clear to continue marrying couples by the lake once again.

"Weddings must go on. It is my privilege and passion to keep getting couples married even though we are evacuated and not in Tahoe," said Orr.

To find out about current wildfire impacts or to plan ahead for a future North Tahoe trip when wildfires aren't a threat, visit

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