As Tampa International Airport makes preparations for the eventual return of passengers and business, one thing is certain: The impact of COVID-19 will have lasting effects on how the Airport looks, feels and conducts business throughout the terminals and facilities.
TPA has launched a comprehensive, Airport-wide effort dubbed "TPA Ready" that mandates best practices for social distancing, mask usage, plastic shield barriers, surface disinfection and touchless transactions, all designed to slow or stop the spread of germs and viruses. The Airport will also be strongly urging passengers and guests to modify behaviors and follow guidelines designed to keep themselves and others healthy and safe.
"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 were accustomed to pre-COVID 19," TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. "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."
Some of the key changes being implemented in coming weeks include:
- 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, US Customs, and other common areas
- REDUCED SEATING: Seating will be reduced, blocked off or spaced apart in places like 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
In addition to these and other changes, TPA 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