Travelers at Charlotte-Douglas and other airports will notice some changes as the summer travel season kicks off. TSA has made some changes in the security screening process to reduce the potential for cross-contamination at security checkpoints in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some changes have already been implemented, with more to be implemented by mid-June at airport checkpoints nationwide.
“In the interest of TSA frontline workers and traveler health, TSA is committed to making prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase physical distance as much as possible,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We continue to evaluate our security measures with an eye towards making smart, timely decisions benefiting health and safety, as well as the traveler experience.”
As changes begin to roll out in the coming weeks, travelers should expect to keep possession of their boarding passes and separate food for x-ray screening. TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from their carry-on bag before being submitted for x-ray screening.
Travelers are encouraged to put items such as wallets, keys and phones directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.
Social distancing measures are also in effect such as increasing the distance between people as they enter a security checkpoint and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. TSA officers are now wearing facial protection, and travelers are urged to do the same. Plastic shielding has been installed at many travel document checking podiums and other locations. There is also routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.
Charlotte-Douglas airport officials say many safety enhancements have already been implemented including plastic screens at locations such as service counters and parking toll plaza cashier areas. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been added, with the terminal being cleaned regularly each day along with nightly deep cleanings. Visual aids for social distancing are being added in the terminal and other facilities.
TSA says many airlines and airports are also providing specific COVID-19 related guidance to travelers, and ask passengers to check with your airline before your trip.
Though checkpoint travel numbers are down dramatically from last year, numbers have been slowly increasing over the past few weeks. On Monday, TSA reported just over 190,000 travelers, up from 120,000 three weeks prior. However, on the same day in 2019, more than 2.3 million people passed through TSA checkpoints at airports across the country.
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