Birthdays are a time to reflect on the past year. And what a year at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) as we turn 71. The unexpected changes and challenges of COVID-19 in 2020 have, and still are, impacting the airport, our operations, and your travel experience. From significant decreases in daily passengers to travel restrictions to face covering requirements at the airport and across the state, it’s a memorable year. It’s our highest priority to keep you safe and healthy, so the FlyHealthy@SEA initiative includes proactive measures to ensure this.
All we want for our birthday is healthy travelers. And because it’s been a tough year, you deserve a treat. So we’re kicking off a new Mask Up SEA street team of airport employees roaming the terminal distributing care kits and spreading our love for our travelers. Each care kit includes a cloth mask, hand sanitizer packs, SEA sticker, SEA candy, and a How to Stay Healthy While Traveling tip sheet. We aim for educational and friendly interactions with travelers. And recognize that many travelers are from out of state and may not know about the state and airport requirements to wear a face covering.
Mask Up SEA Street Teamers will roam the terminals with a branded cart during peak travel times, with an emphasis on weekdays. If you forgot your mask on the way to the airport, you can also get one at our Info Hub, located at the ticketing level between checkpoints 3 and 4. The Info Hub is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
SEA’s face covering policy went into effect May 18 and requires face coverings or masks to be worn over mouths and noses in all public areas in the airport. This policy applies to all passengers, visitors, and airport workers. Public areas include concourses, ticketing, checkpoints, baggage claim, and the parking garage. There are limited exceptions to this policy, such as for young children and those that cannot medically tolerate a mask. If you see a fellow traveler not wearing a mask, please assume positive intent and leave it to the airport team to offer them a mask. As our own mask policy notes, it does not apply to those who cannot medically tolerate one. Some travelers may have a hidden disability, so it may not be obvious that they cannot wear a mask for medical reasons.
Research shows that consistently wearing face coverings can help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.” Read guidance on face coverings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Since launching the Mask Up SEA initiative last week, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive from passengers and staff. We even had travelers approaching the cart to ask for care kits to replace their paper masks for longer flights. More than 500 care kits were distributed in the first two days.
Throughout the summer, our Street Team is on the lookout for creative face coverings that we can spotlight on social media with #MaskUpSEA and we will award prizes to the best! Next time you are at SEA, be on the lookout for our Mask Up Street Team spreading the love. And we want to see your mask style, so upload your own creative selfie with #MaskUpSEA!