AUSTIN, Texas - Crowds are hard to avoid, especially while using public transportation. On Wednesday Capital Metro announced they've started disinfecting common "hand contact areas" because of coronavirus concerns. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is also increasing measures there.
“You take your keys out and place it in the bin that's a guaranteed place where all travelers will be touching something and come out on the other side and it's right there waiting for you," Bryce Dubee with Austin-Bergstrom International Airport said.
Dubee says COVID-19 may be a new virus but they've had plans in place for a while now.
He adds, “we're also in the middle of flu season so travelers are always coming through so there's potential for exposure, last year we had a measles pass through the airport we've dealt with Ebola and other illnesses in the past this is something the airport is prepared for.”
But recently they've ordered more hand sanitizer stations and placed the ones they already have in more "prominent places", like ticketing stations, TSA checkpoints, and restrooms.
“All of our restrooms and facilities are cleaned multiple times a day. For example, in our restrooms, all our sink facilities are all hands-free so you can wash your hands use the dryer get soap all of that without having to touch anything but if you're going through TSA security you'll have to touch bins and stuff like that," Dubee said.
With SXSW soon approaching, Dubee says they do see an increase of travelers but it isn't their busiest weekend or month of the year. It usually peaks late spring and summer.
Dubee adds, “for current federal regulation pilots, inbound flights to the United States must report to the CDC if they have passengers on board displaying issues or symptoms.”
What about before you get to the airport? Whether that's ride-sharing services, your own vehicle or public transportation, there may be concerns.
On Wednesday, CapMetro released a statement saying to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including flu and COVID-19, please follow standard hygiene measures.
“In addition to daily cleaning procedures of all CapMetro vehicles and transit facilities, we have begun applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.” The press release added.
Austin Bergstrom says they don't have flights that go directly to any of the areas currently under a high travel restriction, but they want travelers to know they're in constant contact with state and federal health authorities including the CDC.
Austin Bergstrom says they've also been in communication with Austin Public Health who have a number of tips, including covering cough and sneezes with a tissue, washing hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, not touching your face with your hands, and staying home if you do feel sick.