US airport traffic climbs to new pandemic-era high

From Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean, CNNPublished 10th August 2020
ARLINGTON, VA - JULY 22: TSA agents work at a security checkpoint at the Ronald Reagan National Airport on July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all employees and passengers are required to wear facemasks while onboard a Delta plane. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)
(CNN) — Traffic at airport security checkpoints reached a new high this weekend, crossing 800,000 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic caused passenger numbers to plummet.
The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 831,789 passengers on Sunday. For comparison, that is 31% of the equivalent 2019 numbers, when the TSA saw more than 2.6 million people on the same day last year.
On average, traffic is about 27% of last year's numbers.
The TSA has implemented measures to facilitate social distancing at checkpoints, including increasing the distance between passengers as they enter security lines and putting visual reminders of spacing on checkpoint floors. Where feasible, the use of checkpoint lanes is staggered.
Acrylic barriers are being installed in phases at various spots throughout checkpoints to reduce close contact. Travelers are instructed to put their boarding passes on the document scanner and show the boarding pass to the TSA officer for visual inspection rather than handing documents to officers.
TSA officers are required to wear face coverings and gloves.
More than 1,500 TSA employees have tested positive for Covid-19 and six have died.
The number of overall confirmed cases in the United States topped 5 million on Sunday.