Sen. Hirono Calls for Federal Standards to Protect Air Travelers During Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Senator Mazie K. Hirono has called on the Federal government to provide clear and comprehensive national standards to protect air travelers from coronavirus from the time they enter an airport to start their air travel to their last step at their destination airport.

“The State of Hawaii is strongly impacted by air travel, as are other non-contiguous areas in the United States. In order to begin safe and incremental air travel during this pandemic, appropriate procedures that protect the health and welfare of workers and the traveling public must be put in place at all airports nationwide. Establishing clear standards is necessary to restore public confidence in resuming air travel in a safe manner. I ask that your agencies work together to develop and implement cohesive federal standards and requirements on air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Senator Hirono wrote.

The Senator sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among a few of the standards Sen. Hirono seeks to be met are

  • A system for screening all passengers based on the most current science available on COVID-19 which includes the consideration of testing for COVID-19 or preclearing passengers who have very recently tested negative for COVID-19; 
  • Procedures for maintaining proper distancing at checkpoints, in lines, in waiting areas, and other points of the travel process;
  • Strategies for reducing the wait times at security checkpoints which includes the consideration of opening more lanes or increasing personnel; 
  • Requirements of personal protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitation; 
  • Procedures for a traveler who fails to pass an initial screening; 
  • Protections for all frontline workers who come into close or regular contact with the public or others in the airport.

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