Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport has reinforced and will continue to strengthen its safety and health measures to guarantee the well-being of passengers and workers at a time when the pandemic of the deadly Covid-19 coronavirus is being fought across the planet.  As explained during a tour with the press by managers of the Aerostar company, which operates the airport, a substantial investment has been made to, among other things, increase and improve cleaning frequencies throughout the airport facility, install electronic equipment that helps detect people with a high temperature, provide more guidance, signs, and hand sanitizers for passengers.
Likewise, the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) indicated that it has modified their protocols to streamline the process at checkpoints and thus avoid crowds, although they made it clear that they continue the same restrictions that existed before the pandemic being in force.
Jorge Hernández, chief executive officer of Aerostar, explained that already all employees must pass upon arrival at the airport through cameras that record that they are using their mask and what is its temperature. Those same equipment will be installed soon in the passenger areas, so that the temperature can be taken.
Hernández explained that already in the arrival areas it is installed in the ceilings a system of a duo of camera, one of high definition and the other thermal, that register all the passengers and can detect those who have a high temperature, so that they can then be separated in the screening area managed by the Guard National and the Department of Health, and where tests of Covid-19 are offered free of charge.
He clarified, however, that cameras will also be installed to measure the temperature in exit areas. "We have been focused on the people who arrive, but we also want to offer security to those who leave," he assured.
Meanwhile, in those areas of departure, a strict protocol for the mandatory use of a mask is in force and Access to the terminals is being limited to those who are going to travel, and in the case of those who, due to a particular situation, require a companion.
“We are telling you that these traditional farewells, that we are promoting is that they be done at home, or perhaps on the sidewalk, "said the executive.
In the event that someone refuses to use the mask, Hernández explained, the pertinent authorities would be called to remove it. From the airport. However, he assured that “people have been cooperating.”
Meanwhile, some of the electronic screens that were previously used to announce flight departures and arrivals are now carrying security announcements to promote the recommended sanitary measures to combat the Covid-19.
In the waiting lines, in addition to the markers for the distance, transparent plastics about six feet high will be placed to ensure greater isolation of the passengers. Likewise, protective plastics have been placed on all the counters where services are provided, to protect employees and travelers.
In the bathrooms, the equipment was replaced by drying machines that are activated with motion sensors, so that it could be minimized that people are touching surfaces.
Hernández added that the air conditioning is operating with a double filter system to minimize exposure to viruses and bacteria, and that cleaning protocols were modified to do it more frequently and deeper.
Similarly, cleaning protocols were modified throughout the airport including boarding gates, boarding bridges, corridors, and so on. The changes include the use of spray machines called “foggers,” which carry out deep cleaning of the areas.
He explained that, in addition to the thousands of travelers who pass through the airport daily, there are about 8,000 employees there among Aerostar personnel, airlines, suppliers, dealers and federal agencies.
At the moment, however, the flow of passengers is still between 25 to 30% of what it used to be for these dates before the crisis of the pandemic. In any case, Terminal A was opened in order to offer greater social distancing.
In total, Hernández said, an investment of about $ 700,000 has been made to improve health and safety measures.
For its part, the TSA has also adopted new protocols to seek to avoid the agglomeration of people and maintain social distancing at checkpoints, and also seek greater security for both passengers and officials of that federal agency.
As explained by José Baquero, TSA director of security for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, now all TSA officers will be protected by clear plastic panels when interacting with passengers. In fact, now the passenger will show their identification document (driver's license or passport) to the TSA officer through that transparent plastic and it will be the passenger himself who must place the boarding ticket on the machine that scans and records his Validity.
Officers will also wear face shields, as well as face masks and gloves, when interacting with any passenger. Another additional change is that the gloves will be replaced every time you interact with a passenger.
As a novelty, he noted that a modification was included in the rule that prohibits carrying liquid or gel in hand luggage in containers of more than 3 ounces, so that people can carry containers of 'hand sanitizer' or hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces. "But only‘ hand sanitizer ’, no alcohol, no spray, no other product. Everything else continues with the same prohibitions that there were, "he insisted.
The TSA security chief also clarified that, by going through the scanners at the security points," we are asking people if they bring food to the carry-on baggage, to be removed and placed on a separate tray. So the recommendation we are giving is that you have this food in a bag, ready to take it out and put it on the tray, "so that the process can be streamlined.
Baquero said that they are working with all the staff to comply with the goal of maintaining waiting time at checkpoints “below 10 minutes”
However, Baquero stressed that these changes “are not going to compromise safety in any way.”
“We are going to keep checking suitcases and we are going to continue removing items that are not allowed, "said the officer.
He added that if people have doubts they can consult the portal TSA.gov where is the list of prohibited items , as well as recommendations on how to pack to make the whole checking process faster.