Cebu Airport Prepares For ‘New Normal’ In Travel

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The management of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) on Thursday started to ramp up preparation for the “new normal travel experience,” as Cebu Province, except this city, will be downgraded from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 16 to 31.

Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) chief executive advisor, said the company’s new measures will be in adherence to the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“GMCAC and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) are implementing stringent preventive health and safety measures at the MCIA. This is in preparation for the lifting of travel restrictions and the resumption of flight services in line with airline schedules,” Harrison said in a statement.

He said the guidelines issued by the IATF-EID and the DOTr are intended to protect the well-being of the public against the continuing threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Among the measures, Harrison said, is the limiting of the number of well-wishers for departing passengers to one per passenger.

“This will go a long way in helping us avoid close proximity crowding anywhere on the airport premises,” he said.

All passengers and airport employees will be required to wear face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) if they are within the vicinity of Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and adjacent areas.

Also, all passengers and airport employees must undergo body temperature scan by airport security staff using handheld scanners at all airport entry points.

Personnel from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ)-Central Visayas will also monitor the body temperature of arriving passengers through thermal imaging systems.

The airport management will require passengers and airport staff to sanitize their hands and disinfect their shoes before entering the airport terminals. The airport will provide hand sanitizers and footbaths at all entry points.

At the queuing points, the passengers will be required to maintain social distancing of three to six feet and observe a one-seat-apart policy in waiting areas.

“There will be visible floor markings to guide the passengers while queueing at high traffic areas such as entry gates, ticketing booths, check-in counters, F&B (food and beverage) and retail stores, boarding gates, escalators and stairs,” Harrison said.

The use of the elevators will be regulated to conform to social distancing protocols, he added.

Airport procedures such as security checks and check-in will be modified to adopt “no-touch measures” to reduce any means of contact.

The passengers will be asked to follow gradual aircraft boarding and disembarkation procedures to avoid any queue formation and congestion. The “keep right policy” in walkways and lanes will be encouraged.

The MCIA management will regularly conduct sanitation in high-touch surfaces on escalators, elevators, stairways, passenger boarding bridges, restrooms, and items that are physically handled by passengers such as baggage trolleys and security trays at the security screening points.

It said that regular disinfection will also be done in passenger areas such as departure boarding gates, arrival reclaim halls, and immigration passport control area.

They will also install additional alcohol-based hand sanitizers in public areas of the terminals for the use of passengers and airport employees. The liquid hand soap in all restrooms will be replaced with medical-grade handwashing soap for thorough disinfection.

The airport management will install protective clear shield in all check-in counters to serve as a protective barrier between the passenger and the check-in agents.

Meanwhile, the isolated holding areas intended for travelers placed at the onset of Covid-19 crisis, will continue to be used for quarantine assessment.

A public address reminding travelers and employees on social distancing will be aired every 30 minutes. (PNA)

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