Coronavirus Pandemic: Business as usual at SMF, officials say

Daily operations were running normally at the Sacramento International Airport on Saturday despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Despite President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency on Friday due to the coronavirus outbreak, Sacramento International Airport public information officer Samantha Mott said operations at the facility continue to be routine.

“The airport is running normally but we have changed a couple of things to protect the health and safety of passengers,” said Mott on Friday afternoon.

According to Mott, the airport has ramped up their cleaning efforts amid the coronavirus breakout, especially focusing on frequently touched surfaces such as handlebars, doorknobs and the security checkpoint bins.

“We have also increased the number of hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminals,” said Mott.

Mott also said that the airport has decreased it’s standard use of recirculated air within the terminals to minimize the spread of airborne germs.

“Standard airflow is now at 100 percent,” said Mott. “There is no recirculated air in the terminals.”

According to Mott, security checkpoints - which are run by the Transportation Security Administration - continue to operate under standard procedures at this time. 

According to the TSA website, passengers are now allowed to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces in their carry-on bags until further notice, but noted that, “passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to their checkpoint screening experience.”

While Mott said she cannot foresee any drastic changes to daily operations at the Sacramento International Airport in the near future, she did say that she continues to work closely with the local heath department to monitor the situation as it develops. 

“This is such a diverse and rapidly changing situation,” said Mott. “We will continue to adjust and do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of passengers.” 

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After the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic, President Donald Trump initiated a travel ban on Wednesday  that included 26 countries in Europe and Asia. 

The ban went into effect at midnight on Friday and is expected to last for 30 days, but “these restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground,” said Trump. 

On Saturday morning, the Trump Administration expanded the ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland, with these restrictions set to go into effect Monday night at 9 p.m.

For passenger worried about how this outbreak will effect future travel, Dan Landson, representative from Southwest Airlines, said all travel updates customers may need can be found on the airlines website.

“You’ll find information for customers including our everyday no change fee policies and current travel advisories,” said Landson.

According to their website, Southwest Airlines never charges customers a fee to change or cancel their flight.

“If a customer’s plans change, or they decide they no longer want to travel, the funds used to pay for their flight can be applied to future travel – as long as they cancel their flight at least ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure,” read the website.

The funds are valid for future travel up to one year from the original purchase date and must be used by the individual named on the ticket, read the website.

Other airlines, including Alaskan Airlines and JetBlue, are now offering more flexible travel options to give customers peace of mind during the coronavirus outbreak.

According to their website, Alaskan Airlines will not charge any change or cancelation fees for tickets purchased on or before February 26 for travel through April 30 and new tickets purchased between February 27 and March 31.

As of March 12, JetBlue’s website states that the airlines will waive change or cancel fees for customers traveling March 10 through April 30 if the flight was booked on or before March 10.

According to the JetBlue website, travelers can rebook their flights for travel through October 24 or will be issued a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit, valid for one year from date of issuance for cancellations.

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