Clear barriers installed at San Diego airport to provide COVID-19 protection at TSA checkpoints

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SAN DIEGO — Clear acrylic barriers have been installed at security checkpoints throughout San Diego International Airport to protect TSA security agents and passengers from COVID-19 infection, Transportation Security Administration officials said Thursday.

A total of 28 transparent barriers have been installed at document inspection stations, the areas where passengers prepare carry-on baggage for x-ray screening and other areas where TSA officers interact with passengers.

“The barriers are among several procedural changes that TSA has made locally and nationally, all without compromising the security of the traveling public,” TSA spokeswoman Kathleen Connon said in a written statement.

Similar barriers are being installed at 36 other airports around the country. The agency said it is continuing to advise airline passengers to practice social distancing and to provide TSA officers with personal protective equipment to minimize danger from contact with travelers. Security areas are also being cleaned and disinfected more frequently to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, the agency said.

In San Diego, 13 screening officers have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.

“San Diego passenger volume is down about 70% from this time last year and that’s mirroring what’s happening around the country with mid-to-large size airports,” TSA Public Affairs specialist Dan Velez said.

Passenger volume may still be considerably low compared to 2019, but according to TSA, it is picking up nationwide.

“We just hit 862,000 passengers,” Velez said. “That was our highest mark since the start of the pandemic and that was on Sunday, August 16. The lowest we’ve gotten is all the way down to 87,000 passengers and that was back in early April.”

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