SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Despite health warnings, millions of people took to the skies for Thanksgiving travel, making airports the more crowded than any time since the pandemic began.

Travelers said they went to visit family over the holiday weekend, but took extra safety precautions at their destinations.

“Obviously we had our masks and wherever we went there was cleaning sanitizing zones and social distancing, you know all the restaurants, everyone was on board with making sure that we were following all the protocols,” SFO traveler Dan Gilmartin said.

Gilmartin went to Palm Springs for Thanksgiving.

REPORTER: “What made you travel despite the CDC’s recommendations not to?”

DAN GILMARTIN: “You know, we already planned the vacation before the recommendation and felt very safe. Like right now, there’s not very many people in here.”

SFO saw no large crowds on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which is usually one of the busiest travel days.

But health experts are more concerned about where people are going to, potentially super spreading events to see family.

Which was on Donny Molina’s mind — he spent the holiday in Las Vegas.

“We didn’t have a lot of family over for Thanksgiving. We tried to keep it small,” Molina said. “We’ve seen family members that we need to see, other than that you know we just FaceTimed.”

“It was tense,” SFO traveler Annette Parent said. “The planes were full.”>

For Parent, travel was necessary.

“I went to see my mother in Oregon who is not doing very well,” she said. “She doesn’t have COVID but she’s elderly and she needed some help.”

Despite the CDC’s dire warning to stay home, millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving.

SFO saw the busiest days – since the pandemic began.

REPORTER: “Are you feeling COVID regulation fatigue?”

DAN GILMARTIN: “Absolutely. Well for one, my ears are killing me right now from this mask. But just socially, it was just nice to get out of town. There were a lot of people in palm springs there but again everyone was separated but it was nice to be out in public to be around the community be around people.”

“Probably a little bit,” Molina said. “I try not to think about it too much but I feel we have to be feeling it a little bit but just trying to make the best of it and try to stay safe and hopefully it will be over soon.”

“No, I think it’s essential and I really wish people wear their masks most of the time,” Parent said.

And doctor’s next concern — the upcoming winter holidays. What effect will those gatherings have on COVID-19.

It is recommended you get tested three to five days after you’ve potentially been exposed to the virus to avoid a false negative test result.

Doctors say it may be some time until we know the full effects of these Thanksgiving gatherings, it usually takes two to three weeks to gather all the data.

Santa Clara County updated its health order Saturday. The county issued a mandatory directive on travel that requires everyone entering Santa Clara County to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

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