CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Christmas 20-21 was supposed to be somewhat normal.
“I’m very scared to be flying, to be honest. I’m glad to see everyone looks pretty masked up,” Ashley Clark, a traveler, said.
But with the Omicron variant surging across the country, it’s a wrap for many holiday plans.
“Right up until Tuesday night, I was heading to New York City to spend the holiday with my sister, my nephews, and my family,” Todd Salen said. “It all got canceled. She was tested positive for COVID.”
Salen lives in Champaign, and was excited and ready to spend the holiday with his family again.
“This was my most planned Christmas ever. I had all of my gifts bought November 1st. I had them all wrapped by Thanksgiving. I had them all mailed by the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and all received the week later. So, I was the most organized ever,” he said.
His sister lives in New York City where right now, COVID cases are on the rise.
“It’s going to be a tough few weeks, but it will only be a few weeks. Omicron has come on real fast, but it will be over soon,” Bill De Blasio, New York City Mayor, said.
Many people are testing positive for the virus, including Salen’s sister. So, when he got the call, he said he really wasn’t all that surprised.
“Well, I guess, I guess we’re used to it. The difference today versus last year, last year, we knew plans were likely to be changed. But, two weeks ago, it looked like things were going to be relatively normal,” he said. “All this happened so last minute, I mean, Tuesday morning, we were going. Tuesday night we weren’t. So it’s the way the world is, but one of these years, we’re going to be back to just having a what I would call a relatively normal Christmas for us to celebrate.”
Salen said his family is planning to get together virtually. He said he knows he isn’t the only one having a change of plans this year. So, he said it’s important to be a good neighbor and friend this holiday, and make sure everyone is feeling the love.