People are slowly returning to air travel. While the current volume is about 1/3 of what it was a year ago, that’s saying something since we’re still smack dab in the middle of an uncontrolled pandemic. The airlines are doing their part to make passengers feel safe; whether it’s by blocking middle seats or touting their super circulated, filtered air and electrostatic sterilization spray they’re using on surfaces.
Even if you feel safe getting on a plane, you still have to go through the airport to get to your gate. That includes going through the TSA checkpoint. While airports follow local requirements about mask-wearing, there’s still no federal government mandate to wear a mask at the airport. The TSA also suggests wearing a mask throughout your travel experience but does not require them while going through the checkpoint. If you choose to wear a mask, which you should, the TSA may ask you to adjust or even remove it for identification.
The TSA can also require you to remove your mask if it triggers an alarm during the screening process. I’d imagine that would require putting it through the x-ray.
Needing to adjust or remove your mask might make some passengers uncomfortable. That’s understandable, particularly because TSA checkpoint agents are still contracting coronavirus.
The TSA has a chart on its website showing the number of confirmed cases in TSA employees and breaks out the number of screening agents and the last work date of the most recent screening officer confirmed case. Looking at the numbers, it’s almost a direct correlation between the cases within TSA workers and the general population. Airports in Florida, Texas and New York have seen the largest number of cases. Some airports, such as Grand Forks, ND, Gulfport, MS and Dayton, OH have just seen their first cases in the last 2 weeks. These are the same locations that avoided the original spike of cases nationwide but are now seeing the virus take hold.
Who knows what risk you’re taking by having to take off your mask when going through the checkpoint? TSA employees are required to wear masks so you have that going for you. In fact, you might be more of a risk to the TSA screener than they are to you.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary