BELGRADE — If you plan to travel this year for the holidays, expect a different experience than what you’re used to at Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport. New safety and protective measures have been implemented as the airport prepares for a sudden surge in travelers over the coming weeks.
Earlier this year TSA launched its “Stay Healthy, Stay Secure.” campaign at all airports nationwide to ensure traveler safety during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We know that over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, people who maybe haven’t traveled for the last several months may be coming through the checkpoint for the first time, and it’s going to look different," said TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers.“We’re very cognizant of the fact that people might be nervous to travel, but know that we’ve taken all these steps, all of which don’t compromise security.”
One of the several changes you can expect to see when departing from Bozeman International is a new Computed Tomography (CT) scanner that doesn’t require travelers to take items out of their carry-ons while going through TSA.
“It reduces the number of touchpoints and potential cross-contamination," added Dankers.
All security officers are required to change their PPE frequently, including after each pat-down, but will also change them upon a passenger’s request.
While hand sanitizing stations are scattered around the airport, TSA is allowing travelers to bring one oversized hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces.
“That’s more than the usual amount that we would allow - that 3.4 ounces," said Dankers. "We know that’s important to people because they want to have their hand sanitizer when they clear the security checkpoint, after they sit in that gate area, when they get on the aircraft, and when they get to their destination. They don’t want to wait for their checked bag, so you can bring that with you.”
Along with socially distancing, reduced physical contact, and extra cleaning throughout the airport, TSA strongly recommends all travelers wear masks.
TSA won’t be taking temperatures or having passengers fill out health questionnaires, but it’s important to note that once you get past TSA, airlines might have other safety protocols when it’s time to board your flight.
In addition, the CDC recommends checking for any travel restrictions before planning your trip, get a flu shot if you can, and always wear a mask in public settings when traveling.