Inslee announces new standards for airports in Washington

Story Body

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that Washington is setting new requirements for commercial airports and recommendations for airlines.

This is a statewide approach to the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect the health and safety of workers, passengers and crew in the aviation sector.

“The steps we’re taking will help protect those who need to fly,” Inslee said. “This guidance isn’t just about SeaTac — these requirements apply to airports across the state — Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Everett too,".

In addition to the new baseline guidance from the state, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle announced additional steps to protect the health and safety of airline passengers and staff.

The news was announced Thursday in a press conference. The governor was joined by Max Tidwell, vice president of safety and security for Alaska Airlines, regional vice president Tony Gonchar of Delta Air Lines and Lance Lyttle of the Port of Seattle, which manages SeaTac Airport.

Inslee has called for a uniform national standard around air travel in his letter to HHS and DOT. Although states’ authority is more limited than the federal government’s, Washington state's new guidance sets a baseline standard for airports throughout the state.

The new Commercial Service Airport Requirements are a statewide approach to the COVID pandemic to ensure the health and safety of employees, passengers and crewmembers working and traveling to and from the state’s aviation sector. This approach encompasses setting baseline requirements at each commercial passenger service airport and encourages airlines to adopt certain health screening questionnaires.

The guidance will require face coverings in the airport; signage and spacing for physical distancing; protective barriers between travelers and workers; sanitizer and disinfectant protocols; and that airport vendors and businesses follow state and county health agency requirements.

It also strongly encourages airlines to establish health screening questionnaires for passengers regarding potential COVID-19 exposure or symptoms, and to require passengers abide by face covering and physical distancing requirements in order to be issued a boarding pass.

Read the full story on the governor's Medium site.

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