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‘Major changes’: Coronavirus protocols shake up security at Sea-Tac Airport

The TSA’s new COVID-19 safety protocols include signs encouraging social distancing, ID scanners at checkpoints and no scanning bins for smaller items.

SEATAC, Wash. — Flying out of Sea-Tac Airport for Labor Day weekend? Here’s what to expect in terms of coronavirus safety protocols and going through security.

If you haven’t flown in a while, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson Lorie Dankers says passengers will see “major changes.”

Going through airport security

Typically, if you have a banned item in your bag or you forgot to take out your laptop or liquids, TSA will carry your bag to a separate area and search it there. However, to cut down on bag checks, TSA officers will now ask you to remove the items and go back to the beginning of the line to get screened again.

“That is an inconvenience to the traveler, but we know that it’s safer and healthier for them to be touching their own belongings,” Dankers said.

Also, if you have loose items like coins or your cell phone, Dankers says you should put those away in your carry-on bag and not in separate bins to minimize cross-contamination.

One restriction that TSA has loosened during the pandemic is around hand sanitizer. You can bring up to a 12-ounce container of hand sanitizer through security. Just remember to take it out of your bag.

TSA officers have always worn gloves, but now they will change their gloves after coming in contact with a passenger’s belongings or after each rotation through the security checkpoint. You can also ask a TSA officer to change their gloves if it makes you more comfortable.

RELATED: Health experts warn Labor Day actions could worsen coronavirus pandemic

Social distancing

The airport implemented new signage encouraging people to social distance. Dankers also said certain areas where passengers prepare their belonging for the x-ray scanner are blocked to ensure distance between passengers.

RELATED: Sea-Tac Airport improves air quality in new North Satellite Terminal amid COVID-19 concerns

Checking your ID with TSA

TSA is trying to make the security checkpoint as touch-free as possible. When you show your travel documents to a TSA officer, passengers will insert their photo ID into a reader or scan their passport on their own to make sure officers aren’t touching passenger documents.

RELATED: No travelers flagged for fevers after Sea-Tac Airport installs thermometer

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