I’m a bit confused as to how this wasn’t already a policy, but better late than never, I guess?
TSA agents will have to wear face masks
The Transportation Security Administration is now requiring that all employees wear facial protection while at screening checkpoints.
This new policy will be implemented nationwide over the coming days. It’s intended as an additional measure to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and raise the overall health and safety level inside the airport.
Wearing protective eyewear (as an added precaution) remains optional for TSA personnel who are serving in active screening positions.
Passengers, meanwhile, are encouraged to wear facial protection, though it’s not required across the board. Here in the US most airlines now have policies requiring passengers to wear masks, though this doesn’t necessarily extend to the security checkpoint.
How was this not already a requirement?
I’m puzzled by how this wasn’t already a requirement. Hundreds of TSA agents have tested positive for COVID-19. Not only are TSA agents at high risk of COVID-19, but they’re also putting passengers at risk, especially without taking precautions.
I’m not sure why this wasn’t required before:
- Social distancing isn’t possible at TSA checkpoints
- In situations where social distancing isn’t possible, face coverings are recommended by the CDC
- JetBlue has been requiring employees to wear masks since April 19, 2020, which was a few weeks ago, so the TSA seems way behind here
Are TSA temperature checks next?
In an effort to add more layers of protection for passengers and employees, many have called on the TSA to add temperature checks at screening checkpoints. I imagine we’ll see more temperature checks at US airports in general (they’re very common in Asia, for example), and maybe we will indeed see this added to the TSA screening process.
While setting up temperature checks shouldn’t be that complicated, the big question is what they would do with sick passengers. If someone has a high temperature, will that passenger not be allowed to fly no matter what? Would the TSA tell the passenger to go to the airline ticket counter, or…?
It seems long overdue that TSA agents are required to wear face coverings, both for their safety, as well as for the safety of passengers. TSA checkpoints are high risk, between the surfaces, the lack of social distancing, and the general amount of traffic.
This is a step in the right direction, but hopefully we see even more.