Two smaller security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson International’s domestic terminal have closed, a day after news that a TSA screener at the Atlanta airport tested positive for the coronavirus.
The north and south Transportation Security Administration checkpoints are closed and passengers are being redirected to the larger main security checkpoint at the domestic terminal “until further notice,” the Atlanta airport said on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
According to TSA, there are more “call-outs” by officers who are not reporting to work this morning after they learned yesterday that one of their colleagues tested positive for the coronavirus.
Eight of the lanes at the main checkpoint were open Tuesday morning, according to TSA. Wait times were 15-30 minutes at the main checkpoint at around 8 a.m., according to the airport’s website.
While there are fewer lanes to process passengers, the number of people traveling has also dropped precipitously due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said Friday it is cutting flights by 40%, the largest reduction in the company’s history.
Southwest Airlines, the second-largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson and primarily a domestic carrier, said it would cut flight capacity by at least 20% from April 14 through June 5. The Dallas-based carrier said its planes were roughly 67% full in the first half of this month, and trending in recent days toward 50%.
On Friday, the number of passengers passing through airport security checkpoints nationwide was down more than 38% compared to the same day a year ago, according to TSA data.
On Monday, TSA said the screener at Hartsfield-Jackson who tested positive for the coronavirus last worked at the international terminal on the morning of March 7.
The agency said the screening officer is quarantined at home and receiving medical care, and TSA employees who came into contact with the officer during the past 14 days were being notified.
The checkpoint at the international terminal was closed while it was being sanitized Monday. Passengers were re-routed to the international arrivals-level screening.
The American Federation of Government Employees union, which represents TSA officers, last week issued a statement calling for N95 masks and other protective equipment to protect officers. TSA officers are constantly in contact with the traveling public, including international passengers, the union noted.
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