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Pope Francis criticizes people who are vacationing to 'escape' COVID-19 restrictions

Pope Francis
Posted at 12:06 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 12:06:03-05

Pope Francis on Sunday criticized people who have chosen to travel for vacations amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, saying that those who choose to do so aren’t thinking of others.

During his weekly address on Sunday, Francis said reports of people who travel to “escape” COVID-19 lockdowns “really saddens me.”

“Those people are good people, but didn’t they think of those who stayed at home, to the economic problems of many people who have been knocked down by the pandemic, to those who are ill?” the pope said.

Instead, Francis said that those who travel thought “only to go on vacation, to have fun.”

The pope also referred to reports “in a country — I don’t remember which,” where “more than 40 planes took off that afternoon” full of vacationers. While it’s unclear what Pope Francis was referring to, the New York Times reports that more than 500,000 Americans traveled to Mexico in the month of November alone.

The pope’s comments came the same day that the Transportation Security Agency screened 1.3 million travelers — the most since mid-March when officials began imposing restrictions as COVID-19 began to spread in the U.S.

In recent weeks, the TSA has screened more than 1 million travelers in a single day 11 times — indicating that many did not heed recommendations from the CDC against traveling for the holidays.

Pope Francis delivered Sunday’s address in a livestream from the Apostolic Library. Typically, he delivers his address from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, which draws large crowds of spectators.

According to CNN, Pope Francis has been critical of people who have chosen not to wear masks as well as those who have protested against COVID-19-related restrictions, adding that they’re moving in "their own little world of interests."