Local airports, passengers brace for potential travel disruptions due to coronavirus

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LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — As the coronavirus spreads at one the busiest travel times of the year, a local airport director provided some insight on how it impacts air travel.

Greenbrier Valley airport director, Brian Belcher, said airports of all sizes are bracing for travel disruptions and working to mitigate the affects of the coronavirus.

“We’re wiping down with disinfectant cloths every night when we’re cleaning the terminal, any touch points that the public would be touching like furniture, door knobs, that kind of thing,” Belcher explained.

Some travelers are taking cleanliness into their own hands. Celia Bockius just arrived from Chicago for a conference. She brought her own pack of disinfecting wipes, which she said are now sold out at Target.

“Just wiping down and being aware of where all the germs are,” said Bockius.

Another passenger, John Ferrell, said he is not too concerned about contracting the virus, but he is always conscious of germs while traveling.

“I’m not taking any extra precautions outside of what I normally do, but washing hands especially traveling in planes in such close quarters especially this time of year,” said Ferrell.

Belcher said aside from ramping up cleaning procedures, it is business as usual for most domestic travel. Whereas international travel is taking a huge hit, during the one of the busiest travel times of year.

The CDC issued a level three warning to Italy, South Korea, Iran and China, causing travel cancellations nationwide. WVU reportedly cancelled all international spring break trips. Many U.S. Airlines are restricting travel, but Belcher said some are offering waivers or free date-changes

“Every airline has a waivers page or a special announcements page on their website, so go to your carrier and just keep track of that page,” said Belcher.

The CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with level 1 travel notices because the risk of coronavirus is low.

They recommend these precautions if you travel:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

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