Travelers still flying despite COVID-19 concerns

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PITTSTON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is much quieter than usual ever since the coronavirus outbreak. Though we’re in the midst of a pandemic, travelers didn’t seem concerned.

“If they are sick they’ll stay home and avoid interaction with people who are healthy. Even if there is someone who’s sick, I’m not as worried. Me and my son, and my family have pretty good immune systems,” Michael Hitzges of Newfoundland told Eyewitness News before he got his flight to pick up his son in Ohio.

“It could be dangerous. But I guess it’s not going to be so bad. I feel like I’m going to be just fine,” said Tekanosuke Kubo from Tokyo.

On an average weekday morning there are hundreds packed into the airport trying to get flights. Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, the airport says they only see dozens each morning. The spread of COVID-19 is also sending a foreign exchange student we spoke with back home.

“I kind of feel very disappointed because it’s my first and last time to stay here as a high school student. But I lost that opportunity for 3 months. So it’s very sad,” Kubo said.

The same goes for some educators.

“I have to get back there because we’re doing online learning. And because of this I have to get back there and set up online learning classes,” said Brian Bevan, who was home visiting family but had to get back to teach in Tucson.

Some, like Michael Hitzges, have to travel no matter what. So whether they had to fly or drive, they’d still be commuting.

“I was worried that the flights might be canceled and that he (my son) would be spending more time with his grandparents which is great for them. They’d get more quality time with my son. But then we’d have to figure out how to get back to him. We’d have to drive out to Dayton and pick him up,” Hitzges said.

Airport workers tell Eyewitness News they are taking all the necessary precautions to keep their passengers safe.

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