*Retail stores reopened this week as soon as the state approved the counties safety plan. One store owner in La Mesa said, as soon as the doors swung open, customers began showing up. However some local shoppers said the tricky part was trying to figure out which stores were open and which weren’t yet. Meanwhile, some San Diego shopping malls plan to reopen next week with new health and safety protocols for customers. Four shopping centers including Westfield UTC, Mission Valley, North County and Plaza Bonita will reopen on May 29. T There will be adjusted hours now from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
*TSA is rolling out new airport screening procedures to limit physical contact and increase social distancing. Starting this weekend here are the new procedures.
Keep possession of their boarding passes. Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the podium, travelers should now place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. After scanning, travelers should hold their boarding pass toward the TSA officer to allow the officer to visually inspect it. This change reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a passenger’s boarding pass thus reducing potential for cross-contamination.
Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags.
Pack smart. Passengers should take extra care to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items, such as liquids, gels or aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces, in their carry-on bags (water bottles, shampoo). In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening. If a bag is found to contain a prohibited item, passengers may be directed to return to the divestiture table outside of security with their carry-on bags to remove the item and dispose of the item. The passenger may also be directed back outside of security to remove, items that should have originally been divested (such as laptops, liquids, gels, and aerosols, and large electronics) and resubmit their property for X-ray screening. By resolving alarms in this manner, TSA officers will need to touch the contents inside a carry-on bag much less frequently, reducing the potential for cross-contamination.
Practice social distancing. Passengers should allow for social distancing to reduce direct contact between employees and travelers whenever possible without compromising security. Noticeable adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include, increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so this could look a little different at each airport.
Wear facial protection. TSA officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection. Travelers are encouraged to wear face protection to the checkpoint as well. Please note, however, passengers may need to adjust it during the screening process. Travelers are also encouraged to remove items such as belts, and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.
*The National Park Service is offering a virtual Memorial Day program. It’s a “Virtual Memorial Day Tribute” that will allow people to commemorate the day from home.
The virtual tribute will take place at 30 parks across 12 states, and will begin from Vicksburg National Military Park on Monday at 8 a.m. ET. The 13-hour event will feature a series of livestreams, demonstrations, and historic talks about the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War and beyond, as well as a video of park rangers from Maryland to Montana reciting the Gettysburg Address. You can watch it live on Facebook. A full schedule of events is available on the National Parks Facebook page.
The National Parks Service said that 280 of its 419 outdoor units will be open this weekend, but some will have scaled back services to in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.