b'The early days of the pandemicBy early March it was evident a pandemic Among the EOCs first tasks was to establish was on the MACs doorstep.new cleaning and safety protocols and to Airports are an essential service to bothcoordinate efforts with airlines and other Minnesota and the nation, so it was imperativeairport partnersincluding national and state the MAC act swiftly and decisively to maintainauthoritiesto help airport employees, visitors airport operations and help ensure the healthand travelers remain safe and informed.and welfare of its employees, its airport partnersTo maintain physical distancing, the MAC and the traveling public. board of commissioners began meeting via The MAC had already been working with stateteleconference in March. The board also and federal health agencies when it stood updeclared an emergency, providing MAC staff its own Emergency Operations Center (EOC)with the agility and flexibility needed to respond in March. The MACs EOC allowed for robustto the health and safety needs of travelers and information sharing as well as rapid planningemployees, and to the operational needs of and response to evolving information about theairport partners.virus and needs of the airport community.These early efforts became the backbone of the organizations ongoing response.Protecting our employees To help stem the spread of the virus, on Recovery Steering Group, a group of employees March 13 Governor Walz directed all from across the organization who brought Minnesota businesses that could to begin decades of combined airport experience and a having employees work from home. vast network of public health, government andIn December, As a result, approximately one-third of thetravel experts to the conversations. Many of the MACs strategies for helping keep people safeGovernment Technology MACs employees began working remotely. while continuing to operate its airports camemagazine awarded its The remaining employees directly involved infrom this group.airport operations continued to report to workTECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AWARD onsitebut with new safety measures andOne of the groups first tasks was to develop equipment in place.and provide training for a MAC COVID-19to the MAC for its use of technology Much of the MACs response to the pandemicPreparedness Plan, which continues to serveto improve internal operations in response was developed by its COVID-19 Response andas a guide to employees for COVID-19 protocolsto the COVID-19 pandemic. and policies.5 6'