What airport security looks like if you fly during the pandemic

As segments of the country begin the process of reopening, many antsy Americans are no doubt itching to travel during the Memorial Day weekend. With the holiday fast approaching, the TSA is outlining new security measures for those flying during the pandemic.

Some have already been in place amid limited flight schedules, and, for the most part, the rules are similar to those that have been implemented across most of the country. Agents will encourage travelers to practice social distancing and wear facial protection, for instance.

Many others are simply in place to expedite the process as much as possible and help avoid contact between agents and passengers. Travelers will be required to keep boarding passes on their person, rather than handing them to the TSA officer doing the checking. They’ll have to scan it themselves and then hold it up for the agent to see.

Food needs to be placed in a clear plastic bag, separated from the rest of their carry-on luggage, so the TSA doesn’t have to rifle through their belongs. There’s also an exception for hand sanitizer now. Per the agency:

In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening. If a bag is found to contain a prohibited item, passengers may be directed to return to the divestiture table outside of security with their carry-on bags to remove the item and dispose of the item.

The changes are fairly simple, but frankly, traveling sounds like a nightmare at the moment. In addition to all the concerns around sitting in an enclosed flying metal tube with passengers that may be infected with a highly contagious virus, security may well be a giant pain, even with relatively reduced travel numbers. There are a number of extra security steps, a focus on social distancing and reduction in available security lanes.

You’ve heard it before, but unless you absolutely need to travel, consider staying at home for the sake of yourself and others.