TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa International Airport will become the first airport in the United States to offer pre-flight COVID testing right in the terminal.
The airport partnered with BayCare Health System to offer on-the-spot testing inside the Main Terminal near the Airside F shuttle. The tests, which are voluntary, are available to passengers who just landed or are about to leave the airport.
Travelers can purchase two tests—a rapid antigen test for $57 or the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for $125.
To get a test, passengers must have proof of travel that shows they are flying or have flown within three days.
The tests will give results within 15 minutes.
Passengers who test positive for the virus will be told not to board the plane. If they test positive after landing, those on their flight will be notified of the exposure.
According to NBC, figures show commercial air traffic was down 68% in comparison to the same period last year. The airport hopes the new COVID-19 testing system will reassure potential customers hoping to fly safely.
“We gotta try to get out of this hole. Anything we can do to get out of this hole safely is what we should do,” said Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano.
When asked if the tests should be mandatory, Lopano said “it could be.”
“As a gateway to the West Coast of Florida with a growing market for international travel, Tampa International Airport has a responsibility to explore safe, rapid and affordable ways to keep our travelers, their destinations and our community as safe and healthy as possible,” Lopano said. “We’re thankful to our partners at BayCare in helping us create a pilot program that gives us a step in the right direction, as well as providing a valuable service to our passengers.”
The airport’s move comes as Florida moves into its third and final phase of reopening, lifting restrictions on restaurants and other businesses and banning local fines against those who refuse to wear masks.
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