KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Surrounded by the vast expanse of snow draped peaks and a wide-open winter playground of Canada, Preston Farabow grew increasingly worried that he and two of his boys were about to get stuck thousands of miles from home because the northern border was on the verge of closing.

“Pretty quickly we had to work up Plan B,” said Preston Farabow, a reknown Knoxville craftsman celebrated for his ability to shape basic metal into signature artwork.  

Snow in Canada

He and his sons, ages 16 and 21, were forced to get creative after spending hours working to rebook their flights home through the fewest number of airports.

“We just wanted to minimize our exposure,” said Farabow who guessed the airport in Minneapolis had about 10 percent of normal traffic on a given Thursday with 15 or 20 passengers on a plane built for three times that many bound for Knoxville.

“We all spread out in the plane and maintained our social distancing on the plane,” said Farabow who had also armed himself and his sons with cleaning supplies for the entire trip home.

"We were well prepared with sanitizing wipes and disinfectant. The airports were like ghost towns,” said Farabow after seeing Calgary, Minneapolis, and Knoxville during his travels throughout the day on Thursday.

John Becker

"We were definitely trying to mitigate the risk.  At first the risk was about us not catching anything and now it’s kind of shifted to…if we have caught something since we are likely to be asymptomatic for quite some time we’re going to quarantine and wait and make sure we don’t have anything before we go back and see our friends and the rest of our loved ones,” said Farabow.

Farabow and his sons then drove from the airport to a cabin in the Smokies, where the trio plans to self-quarantine for close to a week.

“We don’t want to bring anything in or infect anyone in our community,” said Farabow who is following the guidelines set by health professionals in Knox County, across the state, and the country.   

If you have questions about travel and your risk of exposure you can call the Knox County Health Department at 865-215-2555 or the state hotline at 1-877-857-2945.

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