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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

After 20 years in operation, COVID-19 is leading to changes for the Transportation Security Administration

Passengers will now have to scan their boarding passes and identification themselves, among other changes.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s tough being a Transportation Security Administration security agent. Flyers know the TSA is the first and most important line of defense we have in making the skies safer.

And they are making changes.

TSA Regional Spokesman Mark Howell said next year will mark the 20th year the TSA has been operating.

“We’ve had to change the way we operate,” Howell said, “... especially since the pandemic - from changing operations at checkpoints and consolidating them down to single areas, and then thinking of health and safety concerns.”

TSA agents have at times been criticized for too much physical contact. But now, physical contact can kill you. Thank COVID-19 for that.

TSA agents have tested positive for COVID, and so have passengers. It’s why they now have a special program.

Howell said, “We’re talking about our stay healthy/stay secure campaign. It is the way TSA is trying to limit the interactions between us and passengers. Reducing the touch points. By doing that, we’re trying to make it safer for passengers to go through.”

Passengers will now have to scan their boarding passes and identification themselves. There are other things that they’re doing. One of them will make hand sanitizer addicts happy, said Howell.

“Typically, it’s 3.4 ounces in a one-quart sized bag - one per passenger. But passengers can now take up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer so they can use that during their travels.”

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