MSP Airport launches safety measures, encourages travelers to wear masks

Travel is expected to increase in July.
Publish date:
airport face coverings

Travelers who fly to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will see changes, including signage encouraging – but not requiring – travelers to wear face masks. 

This is part of the Metropolitan Airports Commission's (MAC) Travel Confidently health and safety program it initiated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Working with guidance from health agencies and best practices in the industry, we have adopted a comprehensive program to help keep travelers and airport employees healthy,” MAC Chief Executive Officer Brian Ryks said in a news release

Increased safety measures

The Travel Confidently program includes health and safety measures that are adopted across the airport in partnership with airlines, concessions, federal agencies and others, the release said.

Among the measures: increased cleaning, overnight disinfectant fogging in public spaces, social distancing controls for employees, the installation of floor decals and signage to remind travelers to stay six feet apart, face-covering requirements for employees in public areas, installing roughly 50 hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminals, shield guards at counters, and encouraging travelers to pre-book parking.

The airport will not require travelers to wear face coverings, although some airlines – including MSP's largest carrier, Delta – do require travelers to wear them on flights. MSP is strongly encouraging travelers to wear masks inside the airport, especially in public places. 

Travel expected to increase in July

These health and safety measures come as MSP Airport expects travel to increase in July. 

“We’re expecting an increase in traffic in July. Whether our passengers return to the skies next month or later in the year, they will experience a very different airport in terms of health safety elements in place to protect them," Ryks said.

MAC says more than a dozen domestic destinations will be added back to the MSP schedule in July, with average daily aircraft departures increasing to 233, up from 138 in June. 

The average daily departure in July 2019 was 554, the release said.

Is air travel safe?

Travel of any kind increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website says. However, health experts don't know if one type of travel is safer than others. 

That being said, the CDC has said that places like airports, bus stations, train stations and rest stops are places where people can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces – especially because they can be harder to social distance – and then potentially spread the virus to others.

With air travel, the CDC says you need to spend time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with others. But on the actual airplane, there is some good news. 

"Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes," the CDC's website states.

However, on the airplane itself, travelers may be within six feet of others on crowded flights for hours at a time, which "may increase" the risk for exposure to the coronavirus. 

Plus, before booking your vacation, the CDC reminds people to consider if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 where you're going (you could catch it while traveling) and whether the local government requires travelers to quarantine upon their arrival. 

Safety tips while traveling 

If you do travel, the CDC has these recommendations to protect yourself: 

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with others (keep six feet of distance between you and others)
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public
  • cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service or stores

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.


Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.


Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.


airport security

MSP Airport will require face masks be worn in public spaces

Airlines already require travelers wear masks on planes.

walmart mask

Walmart, Sam's Club will require shoppers to wear masks in all stores

This comes as the CDC said Tuesday, "Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus."

Tips for avoiding a travel nightmare at MSP Airport this Christmas

We're about to enter the busiest travel stretch of the year.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski's will require shoppers to wear masks

The main protection people get from masking occurs when others in their communities also wear face coverings, the CDC says.

MSP Airport to start screening international travelers for coronavirus

Federal officials expanded screening locations on Tuesday.

Best Buy

Best Buy now requiring shoppers wear face masks in its stores

The Richfield retailer announced its new policy on Tuesday.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Map shows where Minnesotans are wearing masks, everywhere they're not

In most of Minnesota, people are not wearing face masks in public despite the fact it can help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Upon return to MSP, travelers from COVID-19 countries say they weren't screened

The mandatory screening for 26 of 28 countries didn't begin until March 14.