Published 05/17/2020 at 9:43 PM PDT
By OREGON TRAVEL DAILY STAFF
(Portland, Oregon) – Those traveling in and out of Portland International Airport are now required to wear face masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the area. This requirement also includes those simply walking in for other purposes, but excludes children under the age of 2 and people with medical conditions that prevent wearing a face covering.
The measures go into effect on Monday, May 18. Officials are not only looking to the safety of the local population but also to ensure the health of airline passengers, employees, and contractors working at Portland International Airport.
“This is a critical piece of helping restore and build confidence in the travel process,” said Port of Portland Chief Operating Officer Dan Pippenger. “We believe this policy supports public health guidance to help keep PDX employees and passengers healthy, and it aligns with our airlines’ best practices and with other airports to create a consistent and expected experience for travelers.”
As the CDC and Multnomah County Public Health have clarified, cloth face coverings can be made from common materials and are meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
PDX is also taking major steps to minimize people congregating in the terminal by closing down the meet-and-greet areas. Families and friends who often show up to say “welcome home” will not be allowed to do so, and instead are asked to do so at home. For those picking up passengers, you are asked to remain outside the terminal unless your passenger requires assistance.
“Our goal is to help avoid crowding and limit proximity to persons not associated with traveling or working at the airport,” Pippenger said.
Meanwhile, strict and enhanced cleaning protocols are being exercised throughout the terminal.
PDX said it is doing the following:
- reconfiguring airport spaces to make it easier for people to sit and stand at least 6 feet apart from each other
- promoting critical health and hygiene practices including washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes
- creating spaces where people move in a single direction to ease congestion, and
- looking for places where the airport can help improve touchless processes.
These efforts are underway and will continue as people return to traveling and the number of people in the terminal increases.
While PDX remains open and operational, passenger volumes at the airport are down some 90 to 95 percent compared to last year.
The airport has seen a drastic reduction in transpacific and transatlantic service, along with suspension of flights to Canada and Mexico. Airlines continue to make changes to their flight schedules as they adjust to the dynamic conditions created by COVID-19. PDX has seen more than 20 temporary closures of airport shops and restaurants.
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