By Cheryl Albiez, Media Relations Staff
The Port Authority is going the extra mile when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of employees and passengers at its airports – whether its high-touch surfaces, new PPE vending machines, rigorous cleaning programs and disinfection of bathrooms and other common areas, and even hi-tech floor mats on the terminal floor.
At Newark Liberty International Airport, the staff has taken additional measures to supplement the frequent cleaning and disinfection protocols already in place to fight the spread of the virus, including the escalator handrails that provide support and prevent the risk of a slip and fall.
In Terminal B, handrail sterilizers are placed in the handrail balustrade enclosure, safely out of sight and out of reach of passengers. The durable LED bulb focuses germ-destroying light on the full width and sides of the handrail as it passes through, providing continual disinfection.
Newark Liberty also is actively offering personal protective equipment (PPE) to customers, located in vending machines with a logo that says “Clean & Safe Travels.” They are installed in Terminals A & B and items for purchase include disposable and washable face coverings, cleaning wipes, disposable gloves, and gels. Most importantly, these units are easily accessible to passengers at all hours and limit exposure as they require no human interaction.
In addition, Terminal B is piloting the use of sanitizing floor mats, which were created to disinfect the soles of the shoes of customers entering the terminals.
“The health and safety of our employees and the traveling public remains our top priority,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley A. Lawrence. “I recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of anxiety for travelers. My team and I are working to implement several measures to keep all airport employees and customers safe and instill confidence in air travel.”
The results of these pilots will inform a broader airport rollout of more extensive safety protocols, particularly as the region continues on the road to economic and travel recovery. The airports are planning intensely for the phased resumption of its operations in line with guidance from the federal government and the states of New York and New Jersey. Significant and immediate steps have been initiated to limit access, further enhance cleaning and ensure full compliance with CDC guidelines.
“We’re committed to ensuring that passengers have access to the essentials,” Lawrence said. “Limited food and beverage and travel essential retail options remain open in the terminals. As passenger volumes pick up, more stores will open with contactless payment methods and intuitive social-distancing markers.”
Through unified recovery efforts, the agency and its partners will be implementing leading-edge capabilities across its airports under four core principles: maximize hygiene, minimize contact, minimize access, and minimize dwell.
Lawrence explained that the agency’s approach to protecting and facilitating the needs of passengers is comprehensive. “At virtually every turn, we are wiping, washing, spraying and sanitizing high touch point areas like check-in kiosks, hold room seating and concessions spaces,” said Lawrence. When hand-washing is not an immediate option, he said, hundreds of hand sanitizers in the terminals at check-in security, check-points, and near restrooms are available.
And for everyone’s safety, face coverings – over the nose and mouth – are required at the airports.
“It won’t all be easy, but at the end of the day the customer journey will improve into a seamlessly connected, contactless passenger experience,” Lawrence said.