From announcements that their airport has been designated to screen residents from China, Iran and parts of Europe, to closing USO centers, enhancing sanitation and cancelling non-traveler pass programs, U.S. airports are reacting quickly to keep passengers aware and safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW), Miami International (MIA), Seattle Tacoma International (SEA), Boston Logan International (BOS), and other airports quickly informed travelers and employees that they were among the 13 U.S. airports identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to screen American citizens, legal permanent residents and their immediate families who are returning home from China, Iran or specific European countries.
The Chicago Department of Aviation, operators of Midway International (MDW) and O’Hare International airports, issued a public statement noting it is now working with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to provide information, including the number of current coronavirus cases in Illinois and guidance on how travelers can protect themselves during this health emergency.
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) postponed an informational meeting on future improvement projects at the airport, while Orlando International Airport (MCO) let travelers know that nearly 100 international flights were affected during the 30-day restricted travel period.
Portland International Airport (PDX) says the USO has temporarily closed its facilities around the nation, including the one at PDX. The Port of Portland, operators of the airport, also implemented telework for our Port administrative employees who do not need to conduct their work in person. PDX also notes, “Over the course of the past week, we’ve seen system-wide parking transactions decrease by 14%.”
Memphis International Airport (MEM) has temporarily closed its C Concourse checkpoint due to a reduction in passenger travel, adding all security operations will now take place through the B checkpoint, which has the largest capacity and the most lanes.
MEM also temporarily closed the pre-security Maggie O’Shea’s restaurant and Moe’s post-security eatery, but stresses that airlines at MEM remain operational and the airport staff has dramatically increased its cleaning in the terminal.
The Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) is also boosting the frequency of cleaning in the McNamara Terminal and North Terminal at Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport (DTW) concentrating on touch points such as doorknobs, water fountains, handrails and toilet seats.
WCAA also postponed the DTW non-traveler Destination Pass program and cancelled all non-essential work-related travel for employees, as well as all WCAA meetings with non-essential visitors and vendors.
“As the operator of the largest airport in Michigan, we feel it’s our duty to take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Chad Newton, WCAA CEO. “With confirmed cases of the virus in our community, we knew it was time to increase our response.”