TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The guidance is clear for Thanksgiving 2020: Considering the ongoing pandemic, and despite how difficult it might be, people should not be traveling for this year’s annual holiday.

Multiple levels of government have echoed similar sentiments as November has gone on, specifically that participating in the same type of travel that one normally would for the family holiday season would cause another dangerous wave of positive coronavirus tests and cases that could lead to a new period of widespread shutdowns. New York State has introduced a new slate of travel restrictions and guidelines recently, while the Tompkins County Health Department, the state and the Centers for Disease Control have all discouraged people from traveling around to see friends and family members.

The country is already in the midst of another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as areas which avoided the brunt of the pandemic earlier this year now face skyrocketing infection and hospitalization rates. Still, there has been backlash to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recently introduced rules, including the new travel requirements, which call for a three day quarantine and a pair of negative tests upon entering New York from non-bordering states, as well as a ban on private gatherings over 10 people.

“I’m telling you that you are responsible for your actions,” Cuomo said of those who have objected to the new rules. “The numbers don’t lie. Here is the increase before any Thanksgiving increase.”

Even traveling elsewhere in New York State is being strongly discouraged, and several parts of the state are experiencing concerning infection bumps even before the holidays arrive. Cuomo announced on Monday that many new places around the state were being categorized in the state’s color-zone systems, which is used to classify certain zip codes that are seeing higher spread of the coronavirus, measured by positive test rates.

Here is the full list of microcluster zones, as published on Twitter Monday afternoon by Cuomo:

Crucially, Monday’s announcement included popular travel destinations for Ithacans, including that places in Erie County (Buffalo and surrounding area) and Westchester County (Yonkers, Port Chester, Ossnining, New Rochelle, Tarrytown and Peekskill) are all on track to be deemed a red or orange zone in the coming day. In Orange County, Newburgh and New Windsor are on track to be classified as an orange zone, while Brewster in Putnam County and Victor in Ontario County are both on pace for yellow zone classification.

Additionally, Cuomo said that parts of Rochester, Irondequoit and Brighton in Monroe County are also becoming an orange zone, as well as parts of Onondaga County.

“We continue to adjust and adapt as we learn more about COVID-19 and receive guidance from New York State,” said Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “We all need to continue taking the same precautions: wear masks, wash hands, and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. With the holidays coming up, I also remind everyone to avoid non-essential travel. The best gift to your family this holiday season is to avoid spreading COVID-19, so please consider staying home.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at