Helping our Community and Travelers Stay Safe
The availability of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 was a turning point for the air travel industry. By September, many of the world’s countries, including the United States, had lifted travel restrictions for people who were fully vaccinated, opening travel up between the U.S. and many popular destinations and helping to reunite loved ones who had not seen each other for 18 months or more.
Early in the year, the priority was for the most vulnerable, including the elderly, physically compromised and essential workers – such as airport employees – to be vaccinated.
Employee Vaccination Clinic
In December of 2020, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) began working with the Minnesota Department of Health on a plan to vaccinate airport workers as soon as vaccine supply levels allowed. This was a significant undertaking, as there are more than 700 organizations doing business at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) with thousands of workers potentially eligible to receive the vaccine at this on-site, easily accessible clinic.
Working closely with the airport community – including airlines, concessionaires, government agencies and service providers - the MAC helped more than 5,400 airport workers receive the vaccine.
Public Vaccination Clinics
Then in June, the MAC worked with the Minnesota Department of Health to set up COVID-19 vaccine clinics at both airport terminals for community members and MSP travelers. These clinics offered the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine, which made it quicker and easier for people to become fully vaccinated. These clinics continued to serve the public throughout the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.
Public Testing Sites
In 2021, the MAC also continued its partnership with the State to a popular and convenient COVID-19 testing site at Terminal 1.
To support travelers bound for certain international destinations who were required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within a short turnaround time, in April, the MAC contracted with Wandertest to provide onsite rapid testing options for a fee. While Wandertest was initially located inside the secure area for same-day travel, the testing site moved to a pre-security location in June so that anyone, regardless if they were flying somewhere, could purchase and receive a rapid test result.
Cleaning and Disease Prevention Efforts
Providing convenient vaccination and testing options at MSP are two key ways the MAC demonstrates its steadfast commitment to help travelers and our community members stay safe. Another way is by keeping its facilities clean and safe for anyone visiting or working at MSP.
MSP’s Travel Confidently MSP program continues to support the recovery of air travel. Health safety measures include robust facility cleaning and disease prevention operations, which earned MSP accreditations for the second year in a row from the American Association of Airport Executives and Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR Facility Accreditation program, as well as the Airport Council International Airport Health Accreditation Program.
Other elements include the promotion of face coverings and social distancing, placement of hundreds of hand sanitizer dispensers in public spaces, installation of Plexiglass shields at customer interaction points, and the adoption of touchless technology for pre-booked parking and food and beverage ordering and payment.