Sea-Tac prepares for more travelers after CDC opens up guidelines for fully vaccinated passengers

The CDC officially announced its guidelines for fully vaccinated people traveling within the U.S. Their main message was good news for people who have received both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. 

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) officials say safety precautions are for everyone at the airport, but if you’re fully vaccinated the CDC says you don’t need to get tested before or after your trip and you don’t need to quarantine when you get home.

It’s the reassurance needed for many people - especially for two local sisters - after they took the plunge of rebooking a trip cross-country last year due to the pandemic.

"We did a little happy dance when we heard that today!" said Bridget Jensen.

Jensen and her sister Gretchen Tapp are finally reunited, along with several other vaccinated family members for a getaway to California.

RELATED: CDC clears domestic travel for vaccinated people, but still advises mask-wearing

The sisters opted to drive from Washington state to the Golden State because it felt safer, but now that the CDC has said they can fly safely, it’s a huge relief.

"It just brings us out of that funk of last year of everything being canceled and not being able to do things. We’re so much more appreciative of being able to travel and be with people we love," said Tapp.

The news is especially appreciated ahead of her planning to board a flight for her 60th birthday celebration.

"Just having the CDC's kind of approval of this trip just makes us all feel better," Tapp said. 

RELATED: Sea-Tac Airport expecting largest crowds since the pandemic started ahead of spring break

The sisters had tickets to the Presidential Inauguration and high hopes for a big Washington DC trip but ultimately had to cancel when cases spiked last winter. Knowing they can start planning a trip to the nation’s capital again, they're relieved. 

"It’s definitely something you don’t take for granted. It’s freeing," said Jensen.

Local travel agents tell us most people flying out of Sea-Tac are going to Texas or Florida, states where things are opened up more. But regardless of where you’re going, next time you’re at the airport, you’ll likely notice some changes.  

There are lots of safety precautions put in place at airports and if the security line seems especially long, don’t panic. Airport personnel says that’s because people have to be spaced out six feet apart.

RELATED: Travel author Rick Steves urging everyone to hold off on traveling this Thanksgiving

"If you decide to travel you're going to have a safe and clean healthy experience here," said Port of Seattle spokesman Perry Cooper.

Sea-Tac officials say it’s amazing to see where we are today, versus this time last year.

"We were down as low as 2,500 people going through security checkpoints. Now at 36,000, it seems like a lot but it's still only 50 percent of what we'd normally have at this time of year pre-pandemic," said Perry.

In recent weeks, Sea-Tac has had the most travelers since the pandemic started. Though numbers are still technically low, it seems they’re only going to go up from here.

If you are not vaccinated, the CDC still recommends you get tested within a few days of travel, and get tested again within a few days of returning home. In addition, they recommend you quarantine upon return for a full seven days, even if you test negative.

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