For Immediate Release
MDOT SHA Communications – 410-545-0303
MDOT MAA/BWI Marshall Communications – 410-859-7027
MDTA Communications – 410-537-1017
MDOT MTA Communications – 410-767-8367
MDOT CALLS ON MARYLANDERS TO AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL
TRAVEL THIS THANKSGIVING AND REMAIN 'SAFER AT HOME'
Officials Urge Limited Travel to Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19
HANOVER, MD (November 23, 2020) – The Maryland Department of Transportation is joining Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland Department of Health and other state officials in urging Marylanders to avoid non-essential travel during Thanksgiving week. MDOT is asking residents to stay “safer at home" this holiday season to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their families and others.
“We know people are anxious to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends, particularly after we've spent much of this year working and living remotely. But the best way to give thanks for the people we love is to do our part to keep them safe," said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “We urge Marylanders to refrain from travel unless necessary. If you must travel, please avoid large gatherings and remember face covering, social distancing, hand washing and other precautions."
Maryland remains under a COVID-19 State of Emergency. State health officials issued a travel advisory recommending against non-essential trips outside the state, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued holiday travel advice, saying the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving will be at home. Those traveling must remember any use of public transportation will require face coverings and social distancing. Whether traveling or staying local, people should follow COVID-19 guidelines:
- Wear a face covering or mask whenever you are in public.
- Wash hands often with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice social distancing by keeping distance between yourself and others.
- Avoid those who are sick. If you are sick, stay home.
- Avoid large crowds, and avoid handshaking, hugging or other intimate types of greeting.
MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is also urging Marylanders to stay close to home this Thanksgiving. Motorists who must travel should do so off-peak, such as before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, November 24 and 25, and before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, November 26-30. MDOT SHA will suspend all non-emergency lane closures from Wednesday through next Monday, November 30. The agency's Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) will be on the road to help motorists with breakdowns or incidents. For live traffic cameras, weather information, real-time roadway conditions and more, go to roads.maryland.gov.
In addition to COVID-19 precautions, those who must drive should remember these tips:
- Buckle up. It's the law. Make sure all passengers, including those in the back seat, are buckled up.
- Slow down. Observe all posted speed limits.
- Don't drive impaired. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Pay attention. Avoid driving distractions such as cell phone use.
- Be patient. Travel off peak and allow extra time for unexpected delays.
- Be prepared. In case of emergency, dial #77 on a cell phone to reach Maryland State Police.
- See and be seen. If raining, state law requires headlight use when windshield wipers are used.
At toll facilities, remember all-electronic tolling and E-ZPass®
For those traveling the Bay Bridge or other toll facilities over the holiday, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is reminding drivers that all-electronic (cashless) tolling is in effect statewide. There's no stopping to pay tolls. Drivers without an E-ZPass will be mailed a Notice of Toll Due. Additional details about the MDTA's COVID-19 response can be found at mdta.maryland.gov/covid-19-response.
E-ZPass Maryland customers pay the lowest tolls on Maryland toll roads. Transponders are free and there's no monthly maintenance fee for Maryland addresses. E-ZPass Maryland Customer Service Centers will be closed Thursday, November 26, but customers can go to ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 for 24/7 account maintenance.
For those using the Bay Bridge, the MDTA recommends these travel times:
- Tuesday, November 24, through Friday, November 27 – before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.; and
- Monday, November 30 – before noon and after 8 p.m.
- Tuesday, November 24, and Wednesday, November 25 – before 5 a.m. and after 6 p.m.;
- Thursday, November 26, through Sunday, November 29 – before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.; and
- Monday, November 30 – before 5 a.m. and after 2 p.m.
For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic information call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726) or visit Baybridge.com to view real-time traffic cameras. For real-time updates on major incidents follow MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA. You can also sign up for email/text alerts here.
Access to BWI Marshall terminal remains for ticketed passengers only
Out-of-state travel is discouraged under the state health advisory, and the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA) is recommending that everyone limit air travel to essential trips only. For those who must fly, however, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is open with significant measures in place to promote health and safe operations. The airport terminal is open only to ticketed passengers, badged employees and those providing assistance to passengers in need, and it's imperative that all passengers closely adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Face coverings are required in BWI Marshall Airport. Passengers without a face covering may receive a free mask at airport information desks, and some airlines may offer face coverings for customers. In addition, several airport concessions sell face coverings, and there are vending machines in the terminal and rental car facility for the purchase of masks and other personal protective equipment.
The airport has implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures, and has hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the terminal, protective barriers at ticket counters and security checkpoints, and physical distance markers in high-traffic areas. Health and safety information is provided to travelers on monitors and overhead announcements. MDOT MAA asks that travelers practice physical distancing, wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, and use a mobile boarding pass when possible.
Those picking up arriving passengers must wait for them outside the terminal. The airport's Daily Garage remains open at a reduced rate of $8 per day, and the Hourly Garage is open at a reduced rate of $12 per day. The Long Term A and B lots, Express Parking, and valet parking are temporarily closed, but the Cell Phone Lot is open, offering a free, convenient location for motorists to wait away from the airport terminal until contact is made with arriving passengers.
For more on BWI Marshall's COVID-19 response, go to bwiairport.com/COVID19. In addition, the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and State announced a web portal where airline passengers can obtain updated information on how to Fly Healthy this holiday season.
Transit service available for essential travel; COVID-19 precautions required
MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) is urging customers to continue limiting transit use during the COVID-19 emergency to essential trips. Those accessing transit must wear a face covering. MDOT MTA is continuing enhanced cleaning of all vehicles and stations, including high-passenger touchpoint areas. Bus driver shields are used to create a barrier between bus operators and riders, and all operators are wearing personal protective equipment including face coverings.
On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, Local Bus, Light Rail and Metro Subway will operate on a Sunday schedule. Commuter Bus Service will not operate Thursday or Friday with the exception of bus Route 201. Route 201 will operate odd numbered trips on a weekend/holiday schedule.
MARC Train will not operate on Thursday, and on Friday the Penn Line will operate on a Saturday schedule; the Camden or Brunswick lines will not operate. For a list of services, go to mta.maryland.gov.
MDOT wishes everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. For more information on MDOT's COVID-19 response, go to mdot.maryland.gov/coronavirus. The site includes links to information on highways, transit, BWI Marshall Airport, the Port of Baltimore, MDOT MVA and other resources.