TSA prepares for more travelers during spring break season

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Virus Outbreak Europe Summit

FILE – In this July 29, 2020 file photo, passengers wearing full protective gear against the spread of coronavirus, push their luggage in the departure hall of Zaventem international airport in Brussels. As curfew-weary, mask-wearing European citizens hope for relief, and perhaps the prospect of a real summer vacation this year, at an upcoming EU summit on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 leaders will also focus on when to ease restrictions, and the possibility of a future vaccination certificate so people can travel more conveniently. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

WASHINGTON (WRIC) — In the swing of another peak travel season, during which airports are flooded with spring breakers, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is bolstering its efforts to keep people safe amid the coronavirus pandemic to reduce physical contact as passenger volumes are expected to increase.

According to a Tuesday release, technology upgrades across airport checkpoints are being made, as well as recruitment and vaccination efforts for officers and personnel.

“There is no higher priority than our operational readiness as well as the health and safety of our workforce and the traveling public,” Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve installed new credential authentication technology and computed tomography equipment at hundreds of checkpoints that greatly reduces the need for physical contact between our officers and the traveling public.”

TSA officers wear protective masks at a security screening area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday, May 18, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Airlines say they are stepping up security on flights to Washington before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Delta, United and Alaska airlines said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 they will bar passengers flying to Washington from putting guns in checked bags. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Spring break typically represents one of TSA’s busier travel seasons, starting in late February and lasting through April. But agency officials anticipate that the average daily passenger volume will remain well below pre-pandemic levels.

Regardless of the number of travelers in an airport or at a security checkpoint, face masks for both employees and passengers are required throughout all domestic transportation modes. Since the implementation of the face covering mandate for travelers on Feb. 2, TSA officials say there has been near-100 percent compliance at airport checkpoints.

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