Get your face mask ready for your next trip to Tampa International Airport.
The airport is urging guests and passengers to wear face masks, among several steps it is taking to reduce the spread of Covid-19 once passenger traffic starts to pick up.
Tampa International Airport saw a 90 percent drop in passenger numbers in March 2020, compared to March 2019, said Joe Lopano, CEO. Many other airports nationwide saw similar declines.
A recent consumer sentiment survey by the Tampa Bay Partnership found that local residents said they would likely wait months before flying on an airplane again. A study by the International Air Transport Association found that passengers won’t return to travel until they feel personally safe in doing so, and that have confidence that their travel will not be interrupted by Covid-19 or by quarantine restrictions.
The comprehensive, airport-wide program, called TPA Ready, is designed to instill that confidence in personal safety, but the “new normal” may look very different, Lopano said.
TPA Ready mandates best practices for social distancing, mask usage, plastic shield barriers, surface disinfection and touchless transactions. It also encourages guests and visitors to modify their own behaviors, to control germs and viruses.
In a news release, TPA highlighted key changes being implemented in coming weeks:
Plastic shields. Plastic or acrylic shields will be installed in key high-traffic areas, including ticket counters, TSA security checkpoints, boarding gate and concessions counters.
Face masks. All employees will be required to wear face masks.
Social distancing markers. Thousands of ground markings and signs will give guidance on six-foot distancing ticket counters, boarding gates, shuttles, SkyConnect, concessions counters, U.S. Customs and other common areas.
Reduced seating. Seating will be reduced, blocked off or spaced apart in places such as gate areas, dining areas, work stations and main terminal greeting sections to promote distancing.
Cleaning and sanitation. TPA is employing additional cleaning crew staff, using cutting-edge disinfection applications and products on surfaces, hand rails and elevator buttons, and adding more hand sanitizers throughout the airport.
TPA also is urging its guests and passengers to follow CDC guidelines to stay healthy, as well as the following:
• All passengers and guests should wear face masks while at the airport in any capacity.
• Passengers should plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure to help prevent crowding caused by last-minute rushing before scheduled flights.
• Travelers should use carry-on luggage and mobile boarding passes to limit touchpoints.
• Those picking up or dropping off passengers should not enter the main terminal; instead they should use the cell phone lot or stay in their vehicles in the short term garage unless they are assisting unaccompanied minors, passengers with disabilities or others who need assistance.
The airport said it works closely with the Florida Department of Health and will continue to monitor CDC and other public health guidelines to follow the latest policies and practices in keeping its travelers, guests and employees safe.
Here are more details for Tampa International passengers.