HOUSTON — As we enter into the summer months and states continue to open, there's been an increase in traffic at most U.S. airports.
Travelers at Hobby and Bush airports can expect changes, such new safety protocols and businesses closures, as Houston Airport Systems work to protect workers and guests from coronavirus exposure.
The Transportation Security Administration has updated its procedures to reduce of the likelihood of travelers catching coronavirus while migrating through checkpoints and other protocols.
Of course, it's also to protect the TSA frontline workers, some of whom interact with thousands of air travelers each day.
TSA officials said agents will be disinfecting frequently touched surfaces a little more than usual and must change their gloves after every pat down, but here's a few things airport visitors can do to help out.
You'll be scanning your own boarding pass. Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the travel document podium, travelers will scan their own boarding passes.
In addition, plastic shielding installed at many travel document checking podiums, divest, bag search and drop off locations.
Any snacks or food you pack will be scanned separately. Travelers are instructed to pack any carry-on food in clear plastic bags and place into its own bin. It's to lessen the likelihood of the packaging triggering an alarm and having to undergo extra inspection.
You'll be able to pack A LOT more hand sanitizer. Liquids, gels or aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are prohibited. However, travelers are now allowed to bring hand sanitizer in containers up to 12 ounces— only one bottle per passenger. You're asked to take it out of your bag before going through x-ray screening.
Practice social distancing. At this point, we should all be familiar with this one. When standing in line or anywhere in the airport, try to keep some distance between yourself and other passengers— 6 feet is the recommended distance. TSA will be placing markers on the floor as a guide.
Wear a mask. TSA officers at checkpoints will be wearing facial masks, and airport guests are asked to do the same. TSA officials said some agents may be wearing other personal protection equipment such as clear plastic face shields at some airports.
Try to have as little on your person as possible. Belts, wallets, keys, phones and pocket items should be packed inside a carry-on bag if possible instead of placed into the bin. It's to reduce touch-points during the screening process.
Closed Shops & Restaurants
If you're planning to grab a bite or do a little shopping during your visit, restaurants and businesses inside the airport may not be open.
These closures are subject to change, so please check here for the most updated list of shops and restaurants. Please be mindful businesses with multiple locations inside the airport may be closed at some gates and not others.
- Barry's Pizza
- Pappasito's Cantina Bar
- Pappasito's Cantina
- Yia Yia Mary's
- Dylan's Candy Bar
- Houston Chronicle
- ICE Currency Exchange
- KPRC 2 Travel Store
- My Sweets
- NYS Collection
- PGA Tour Shop
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
- Shady Lane Marketplace
- Southern Living
- Space Center
- World Duty Free
These closures are subject to change, so please check here for the most updated list of shops and restaurants.
- 3rd Bar Eating House
- American Craft Tavern
- Bam Bam
- Blaze Pizza
- Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar
- Cafe Adobe
- Camden Food Co.
- Some CIBO Express Gourmet Markets
- Custom Burgers
- El Premio Tex-Mex Bar & Grill
- El Real
- Forno Magico Neapolitan Pizza
- H-Burger Bar
- Nature's Kitchen
- Potbelly Sandwich Shop
- Subway at Gate1 is closed
- Yogen Fruz
- Zori Bistro
- Briggs & Riley
- Some CIBO Express Gourmet Market
- Dufry Tax & Duty Free
- Headphone Hub
- iDuty Free
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate
- Space Corner
CDC travel tips
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the following tips to help protect yourself and others when traveling:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not available, bring and use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others.
- Wear a cloth face-covering in public.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service, or stores.
More information from the CDC can be found here.
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