Long lines are expected at land ports of entry and airports as travel restrictions ease to enter the U.S. on Monday, Forbes reported.

Tampa International Airport Encourages Holiday Travelers To Get Tested

TAMPA, Fla. – As Tampa International Airport prepares for its busy Christmas and New Year’s travel period, the Airport would like to remind passengers to follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to mandating face masks and social distancing, TPA continues to offer voluntary COVID-19 testing for all departing and arriving passengers.

TPA expects passenger traffic to be approximately half of what it was during the same period last year, but with COVID-19 cases on the rise across the nation, including the Tampa Bay area, testing is critical for those planning to fly during the holiday season.

A few things to note about TPA’s COVID-19 testing site:

  • Testing is available from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays, and it is closed on Christmas Day
  • The testing is available only to TPA passengers who are either departing within three days or who have arrived within three days
  • The site offers both the PCR test ($150) which produces results with 24-48 hours and the rapid antigen test ($60) which produces results in 15 minutes
  • Passengers who have travel plans should check with their airline or with their destination city, state or country health department site before flying to determine if a test result is required upon landing
  • More information is available at https://baycare.org/tpa-testing

TPA expects traffic to pick up this weekend, though exact estimates are uncertain due to the pandemic. This coming Saturday, Dec. 19, as well as Saturday, Dec. 26 and Sunday, Jan. 3, are projected to be the busiest days, with approximately 43,000 passengers traveling through TPA on each of those days. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will see far fewer passengers with projections between 22,000 and 24,000 on those days.

Despite the lower numbers, TPA advises departing passengers to arrive at least two hours early, follow TSA guidelines for items packed in checked luggage to avoid delays, and use the Cell Phone Lot if picking up passengers to avoid circling or lingering at the curbsides.

To ensure a healthy travel experience, TPA also asks all guests to do their part by:

  • Wearing a face mask properly at all times
  • Washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer
  • Maintaining social distancing as much as possible
  • Using touchless options and mobile boarding passes
  • Checking with your airline for any additional guidelines

For more on what to expect at TPA, visit www.tampaairport.com

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