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Masks, shields and less seating: Changes coming to Tampa International Airport

The "TPA Ready" initiative adopts best practices for social distancing, mask usage and cleaning protocols.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa International Airport is adapting to the lasting impact of COVID-19 and preparing for the return of passengers and businesses. 

The airport's new initiative, "TPA Ready," implements 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.

“As a team here, we have been working relentlessly to make sure number one, our airport is safe for our employees, and number two, that it’s just as safe for our travelers when they decide to fly again,” said John Tiliacos, executive vice president of operations and customer service at Tampa International Airport.

“I believe it certainly is our new normal for the foreseeable future,’ he said.

Passengers and guests will be urged to follow guidelines and change their behaviors to keep themselves 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," 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 the 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 concession 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 to clean and disinfect surfaces, handrails 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 cars in the Short Term Garage unless they are assisting unaccompanied minors, passengers with disabilities or others who need assistance.

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