We are so ready to get back to traveling. For now, we’re happily staying home, and staying safe in our beautiful city, but we’d be lying if we said the travel bug wasn’t biting us. We’re happy to report that Tampa International Airport, both the best airport in the country (IMO) and the top social media account to follow in the region, has launched a new “TPA Ready” plan to ensure the safety of its staff and employees.
“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,” TPA CEO Joe Lopano said in release on TPA’s website. “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.”
Airport officials have outlined a few key safety measures they’re taking going forward:
- PLASTIC SHIELDS: Plastic or acrylic shields will be installed in key high-traffic areas, including ticket counters, TSA security checkpoints, boarding gate and concessions 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, using cutting-edge disinfection applications and products on surfaces, hand rails and elevator buttons, and adding more hand sanitizers throughout the Airport
TPA is also 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 vehicles in the Short Term Garage unless they are assisting unaccompanied minors, passengers with disabilities, or others who need assistance
Tampa International Airport received some good news on April 21. The Aviation Authority is set to receive $81 million dollars of funding from the CARES Act.
The funding was designated as part of a larger package that includes $10 billion in overall funding for airports, with $9.4 billion programmed for airports to use for any lawful purpose and support vital operations.
Tampa International Airport has seen a 97 percent drop in business, much like airports around the world.
“I’m thankful to our team, our trade partners, and the entire Tampa Bay area legislative delegation for their support in securing this money,” TPA CEO Joe Lopano said, noting that the Authority has spent the past several weeks analyzing its finances and fiscal year budget to adjust to the change. “We want to ensure we’re continuing to keep up with our projected passenger numbers and the growth of this region while also being fiscally responsible given this unforeseen crisis.”