As Memorial Day and the usual kickoff to summer travel season approaches. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing changes to its security screening process amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the interest of Transportation Safety Administration frontline workers’ and traveler health, TSA is committed to creating prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase the physical distance as much as possible,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said during a press release Thursday. “We continue to assess our security measures with an eye towards creating smart, timely decisions benefiting health and safety, as well as the traveler experience.”
The release says that the TSA has already started implementing the changes, but will continue to implement them at airports nationwide by mid-June.
In March, the Transportation Safety Administration declared alternative coronavirus-prompted changes. Including relaxing the 3.4 ounces or less carry-on liquid demand for liquid hand sanitizer. Instead, travelers are allowed up to 12 ounces per traveler. And another new factor to expect at the airport: getting your temperature checked
What are some of the new changes implemented by TSA? Travelers should expect the following:
Boarding passes: Travelers should place their boarding pass on the boarding pass reader themselves as opposed to handing it to the airport officer. Then, travelers are expected to hold up their pass so an officerdidate} can examine it without needing to touch it.
Food: Place carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin for X-ray screenings.
Social distancing: Keep an increased distance between individuals “without compromising security.” Visual reminders regarding appropriate spacing are also placed on checkpoint floors.
Face masks: Transportation Safety Administration officers are using face masks, and it’s encouraged that travelers do so, too.
Abide by the rules: ensuring you “pack smart” (no prohibited items in your bag) helps cut back time in the screening process. If a prohibited item is found, travelers may be directed outside of security to remove the item before being re-screened. In order to reduce the number of airport officers needing to touch the contents of someone’s carry-on.
Safety measures that are already put in place include reduced security lane usage, some TSA officers wearing eye protection. And the officers chang gloves once each pat-down, plastic shielding at many podiums and counters, and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
Here’s what to expect at the airport amid coronavirus
Despite the need for temperature-checking measures at airports. Neither the TSA nor the Centers for disease control and prevention has indicated any plans to take on that responsibility or when it might begin. Even if they do, there’s debate about whether checking for fevers has many effects on keeping sick people from boarding planes or from entering the country. Temperature scans done on travelers entering the country from China and Europe seemingly did little to slow the spread of COVID-19.