Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) and its airline partners are preparing for a new normal for those who travel by air. After a number of weeks of nearly empty skies nationwide, both airlines and major airports are reporting increasing demand for flights. Even at SBA, the number of travelers is slowly beginning to increase.

In preparation, SBA is launching its Be a SBA Healthy Traveler initiative that includes a number of common-sense expectations for those who travel, as well as anyone who visits the airport to drop off or pick up a friend or family member. These include:

» Wear a face covering in the terminal — a face covering will be required to enter the terminal and fly with any one of SBA’s airlines. All airport visitors and airline employees also are required to wear a face covering. If you forget a face covering, the airport and airlines will be providing disposable face masks beginning on May 15.
» Maintain a safe distance from others — look for helpful signs and decals in the terminal. Airlines also will follow new boarding procedures to increase distance. Follow all airline employee directions.
» Travel with hand sanitizer to use on hands and hard surfaces — the TSA now allows 12 oz. containers onboard. Use it to disinfect your hands or anything you touch. If you don’t have hand sanitizer, it will be available at multiple locations in the airport.
» And most importantly, do not travel if you have any symptoms of illness — all of SBA’s airlines waive booking fees if you need to delay your flight.

In addition, SBA is making a number of significant changes in the terminal to help ensure the safety of those visiting the airport. Some of the changes are:

 » Nightly mist disinfectant cleaning in the terminal.
 » Increased disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as escalator handrails and elevator buttons.
 » Counter guards to shield interactions at ticketing and gate counters (anticipated in early June).
 » Increased queuing area where available, stanchions to space travelers.
 » Increased seat spacing and/or seating removal in hold rooms.
 » Increased table seating space in restaurant, more grab n’ go food (anticipated early June).

These efforts by SBA and cooperation by passengers and employees, in combination with the airlines’ new protocols make the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 or any illness very low. The airport’s newsstand/gift shop is open for passengers’ convenience and can offer water, soft drinks and a variety of snacks for flights as in-flight food service may be limited onboard.

The full-service restaurant remains temporarily closed.