One of the executive orders President Joe Biden signed on his first day in office is a 100-day mask mandate. The rule applies to all federal property, including national parks, airlines, trains, and transit systems that travel between states.
Many travelers and parts of the travel industry are applauding the move. And it looks like we’ll have the new Bernie Sanders-bundled-up-at-the inauguration meme to help us remember to stick with the program.
There’s even an app that will help you put the masked-up Sanders at your favorite airport – or anywhere Google has mapped.
Here here is at Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Instead of the annoying buzzer and flashing light that announces the arrival of bags at some airports, the newly redesigned bag carousels at MSP airport send up the alert with nature sounds and a light show.
We’re making this the first nomination for Airport Amenity of the Week.
Hand washing help
Our second nomination for Airport Amenity of the Week is this high-tech hand-washing station Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) installed to encourage travelers to wash their hands and “scrub away germs in 12 seconds flat!”
O’Hare Airport’s new Twitter Bio
Pete Buttigieg, who has been named transportation secretary nominee by President-elect Joe Biden, put a spotlight on O’Hare International Airport (ORD) during his formal introduction on Wednesday.
During the event, Buttigieg noted that he proposed to his husband, Chasten, at O’Hare. “Don’t let anybody tell you that O’Hare isn’t romantic,” he said.
Avgeeks know that.
So does United Airlines, which sent out a tweet identifying the engagement gate.
And O’Hare Airport even change its Twitter bio.
It now begins “Place of romance.”
Which would you pick as Airport Amenity of the Week?
MSP’s bag carousel? PIT’s hand washing station? O’Hare’s new status as place of romance?
Let us know in the comments section which of these airport stories you’d pick as Airport Amenity of the Week.
And feel free to nominate an airport amenity for next week’s Airport Amenity of the Week.
At Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) messaging on the public address system reminds passengers that face coverings are required by the governor’s mandate. Reminders of the face-covering requirement also appear on shuttle buses, entrance doors, and throughout the terminal.
In addition to signage about wearing masks, at Denver International Airport (DEN) all employees are encouraged to politely remind a passenger to wear their mask if it is not on or not on properly.
“We may offer a person a complimentary mask to encourage compliance,” says airport spokesperson Alex Renteria, “If a person acts aggressively, law enforcement may be called. But we have not had an instance where a traveler refused to wear a mask.”
At Los Angeles International Airport, Travel Safety Ambassadors patrol some terminals to remind guests about the airport’s mask policy and hand out free face coverings if needed.
“We do our best to remind people from the moment they step into the building,” said airport spokesman Heath Montgomery, “But the airlines are the ones with the authority to decline service to those who refuse to comply with face-covering policies.”
But there is no firm timetable for the release of that phase of the report.
In the meantime, in addition to encouraging passengers to mask up, airports continue to reassure travelers with assertive terminal-wide cleaning procedures, COVID-19 testing services, and other health and safety regimes.
Be sure to check with providers for prices and updated information.
Where to get tested
AFC Urgent Care – COVID-19 tests are available at clinics on the AFC Urgent Care website. Tests available for ages five and older. Schedule in advance to guarantee appointment availability. A printed version of the results is provided prior to leaving the clinic.
Bartell Drugs – Only for Alaska Airlines passengers to Hawaii at select Bartell Drugs locations. Tests available for ages five and older. Appointments are required at least one day in advance. Guaranteed results within 72 hours.
Carbon Health – Tests offered at dedicated sites with results delivered within two hours. Tests available for ages five and older for Alaska Airlines passengers in Seattle only. ($135)
CityHealth Urgent Care – CityHealth Urgent Care offers tests utilizing state-of-the-art Abbott Lab instrumentation for results in 15 minutes. Tests available for ages five and older.
Color Tests available for ages five and older for United Airlines passengers going to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport.
CVS Health – Travelers may schedule an appointment up to two days in advance at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations. Tests available for ages 12 and older. Pre-registration is required. ($139).
Discovery Health MD – Individuals traveling to Hawaii may schedule testing online with same ($329) and next day ($279) results at designated testing sites. Tests available for ages five and older. A limited number of walk-ups can be accommodated.
Kaiser Permanente– Kaiser Permanente members may schedule a test online, or contact the appointment call center or nurse advice line in their home region for scheduling instructions.
Quest Diagnostics – Individuals may order and schedule the company’s COVID-19 Active Infection Test online and select from more than 500 Walmart drive-thru pharmacy locations for a nasal swab test.
Vault Health – At-home tests with real-time audio-visual supervision are available. Tests available for ages five and older. Tests are mailed with accurate results in 72 hours or less.