EUGENE, Ore. -- Officials are expecting Labor Day travelers to largely explore destinations in their own backyards over the weekend, potentially crowding local outdoor hotspots.
The Oregon Department of Transportation issued travel alerts across the state for the holiday weekend. Highway 101 on the coast and U.S. 97 in eastern Oregon are expected to experience congestion, as well as the highways that connect them to the Willamette Valley.
ODOT said that "an overwhelming number of travelers using their car and staying close to home because of COVID-19" may be behind the potential delays.
Meanwhile, Travel Lane County said that there has been an uptick in locals looking up staycation ideas leading up to Labor Day.
Throughout the pandemic, outdoor activities like hiking and biking have been popular, which may spell out a busy weekend at trailheads and various other spots.
"The anticipation is that we will see more road trips and see more locals on our trails nearby. We've seen a lot of people exploring local trails, which is great, and more cyclists on the road, so we are trying to make sure that people are aware and everyone is being respectful," said senior director of tourism Stephen Howshaw.
Lane County Public Health said that Independence Day and Memorial Day celebrations this year were correlated with bumps in new coronavirus cases. For Labor Day, they are urging residents to stay home.
University of Oregon senior Blade Griffin said that he will be at home for Labor Day, but he is taking precautions to do so safely.
"It's one of those things where you're looking out for yourself, but the big thing is looking out for others," he said. "Obviously we have family and friends that we are going home too, so even though we are out and about exploring, doing things like that, being cautious, being safe isn't necessarily just for us."
According to LCPH spokesperson Jason Davis, people should celebrate only with those in their households. If you are holding a gathering, try to do so outside and wear a mask.