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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that all officers must wear facial protection at security screening checkpoints, a proactive health safety measure in the national fight against COVID-19.
The TSA shared the news on Thursday, disclosing that the change will be implemented at air hubs across the country in the coming days.
The federal agency added that the use of protective eyewear remains voluntary for employees working in active screening positions.
“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said of the news.
As the coronavirus crisis continues, passengers are also encouraged to wear facial protection while passing through checkpoints, though they may be asked to "momentarily" lower their face masks for identity verification purposes during the screening process.
Moving forward, the TSA is contemplating further changes to its security screening system, to limit physical interactions and reduce risk amid the pandemic. In one example, Plexiglas barriers have been installed on podiums used by TSA agents at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to further protect both employees and the public.
More information about the TSA’s response to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus is available on their dedicated COVID-19 resource page.
In related headlines, increasing numbers of commercial airlines have similarly begun requiring passengers and crew to wear face masks during travel.