By Wilson Walker

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Just a week ago, health officials were begging everyone not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Now, that request has been extended, for the foreseeable future.

“I’ve traveled a lot during the pandemic,” said Allison Stockman in Oakland on Wednesday. “Tons of safety measures, people being very careful.”

Many of those drifting through the Oakland Airport Wednesday were not traveling for pleasure.

“No,” said a passenger named Agnie on her way to security. “I’m traveling for work.”

While airport staff was hanging stockings, the Centers for Disease Control was, again, asking everyone to cancel their winter holiday travel plans.

“Given the state of things,” Agnie explained, “I can understand limiting travel for regular relational purposes or leisure.”

So what does the winter holiday season mean, exactly? CDC Director Robert Redfield described the near term as the next several months.

“The reality is that December, January, and February are going to be rough times,” Redfield said. “I actually believe they are going to be the most difficult times in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that it’s going to put on our healthcare system.”

“I don’t think people are gonna go for it,” said Isabelle Thapar upon hearing the CDC request. “I think the way that it’s going, it’s going the opposite way. The fear of COVID and how much COVID, versus the fear now and how much they’re actually is now.”

Some passengers say they’re skeptical that the public will adhere to the new guidelines. More than a million people passed through airports on Sunday, a pandemic high, but still 59 percent below the same day in 2019. Others say their first reaction is the hardship this will cause for everyone downstream in the travel industry.

“It’s not just the people that travel that are affected, but all the people that work for the airlines,” Stockman says. “For all the people that work at hotels, all the places that people are going are very affected.”

Also among the updated guidelines, a test before and after travel. The CDC is also advising against travel to Mexico.