The Changes Coming To Tampa International Airport To Reduce Coronavirus Risk
As the impact of COVID-19 continues to reshape daily life, Tampa International Airport has begun to make changes and preparations for the return of passengers and other personnel in this time of uncertainty.
After alluding to the changes last week, airport CEO Joe Lapano made the official announcement Wednesday, dubbing the airport-wide effort as, “TPA Ready.”
CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida
The list includes mandates that call for social distancing, use of face coverings, plastic shield barriers, surface disinfection, and touchless transactions.
Airport officials will be urging these practices to employees and passengers in order to slow or stop the spread of potential germs and viruses.
“While we know there’s an eagerness among our travelers and employees to resume our normal lives again, that new normal may look very different than what we we’re accustomed to pre-COVID 19,” Lopano said in a news release. “Keeping people safe is always our top priority at TPA, and as people plan to come back, we want to ensure we are offering an environment that is clean, healthy, and ready for business.”
The changes being implemented in the coming weeks are the inclusion of plastic shields, face masks for all employees, social distancing markers, reduced seating, and an increase in cleaning and sanitation.
In addition to the changes enacted, airport officials are urging passengers and guests to adhere to CDC guidelines.
These include wearing a face covering while at the airport, planning to arrive early in order to not create unwanted clusters, and to use carry-on luggage and mobile boarding passes to limit touchpoints.
"We've reduced touch points by encouraging more mobile boarding passes,” Lopano said last week. “Encouraging using carry-on luggage only, which reduces contact at the ticket counter and contact at the baggage claim. We've increased cleaning frequently."
Those picking up or dropping off passengers should not enter the main terminal.
Instead, they are being asked to use the cell phone lot or to stay in their vehicles in the short-term garage.
Those assisting with unaccompanied minors, passengers with disabilities, or others who need help are exempt.
Lopano, a member of one of the Gov. Ron DeSantis' task force work groups looking at reopening the state, says they're prioritizing health and social distancing as they plan for the return of passengers and other business.