Airports making cleanliness a priority as coronavirus cases, concerns rise

ROANOKE, Va. – As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, airports such as the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport are monitoring the outbreak as closely as possible.

“I had a trip planned where I was going to take my daughter to Asia, but we’re rescheduling that for a later date,” said Brad Boettcher the marketing director at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

While there are zero confirmed cases in Virginia, Boettcher said the airport is trying to prevent the outbreak with cleanliness, especially with the spring break travel season nearby.

“As a facility, we want to be as clean as possible,” Boettcher said. “It gets wiped down, on average, about three times a day. We go and clean everything.“

Two airlines which fly into Roanoke, Delta and United, are now deep cleaning their planes after every flight. Additionally, Boettcher said the airport has added messaging in its bathrooms reminding travelers to wash their hands.

“The bathroom cleaning protocol has stepped up from a couple of times a day to three times a day,” Boettcher said.

The coronavirus has not affected any flights into Roanoke yet, but Boettcher said some airlines have made changes due to the outbreak.

“United has cut capacity about 10 percent over the next couple of months,” Boettcher said. “We haven’t seen those trickle into our market yet, but that could affect travelers if they’re connecting at a hub.”

10 News also asked several airports near Roanoke what they are doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Lynchburg Regional Airport’s director said his airport has also increased its cleaning frequency.

LYH Regional Airport currently has multiple alcohol-based battery operated automatic hand sanitizing machines strategically placed through the sterile and non-stile areas of the passenger terminal. We also posted the CDC “Wash hands frequently” signs in the public restrooms and employee break rooms. In addition to both of these items, our Custodian team have increased the frequency of restroom cleaning. We regularly clean our restrooms after each arriving flight and will now make a pass through the restroom during a flight being processed. All seating areas concession eating area, water fountain, and other touch surfaces are also being wiped down with a disinfect more regularly throughout the day as well.

Andrew LaGala, Lynchburg Regional Airport Director

Raleigh-Durham International Airport linked to this statement on their website.

Tri-Cities Airport near Bristol sent this statement:

The Tri-Cities Airport Authority remains highly committed to the health and safety of passengers, guests and employees. Airport staff are focused on increased cleaning and sanitation of high-touch areas and ensuring hand sanitizer is readily available.

Kristi Haulee, Tri-Cities Airport Authority Director of Marketing

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