What travelers need to know about coronavirus prevention at Ontario International Airport
Airport officials urge travelers to follow CDC guidance and take reasonable precautions to avoid getting sick
UPDATE: This FAQ has been updated and can be found at https://flyont.news/ONTcovid19FAQ2
Q1: I am concerned by news that coronavirus infections are spreading to countries around the world. Should I cancel my upcoming air travel?
A1: We at Ontario International Airport, like others at all levels of government, are actively monitoring matters regarding the new coronavirus and its potential to impact air travel. We are working closely with our federal security partners to screen arriving domestic and international passengers for signs of potential coronavirus infection. At this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is recommending that travelers avoid non-essential travel to South Korea and China (not including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). The CDC’s travel advisory is available here.
Q2: Have U.S. airports imposed flight restrictions to particular destinations?
A2: U.S. airports do not have the authority to take such actions and we are aware of no such actions by U.S. aviation or public health authorities at this time. Air carriers may adjust their schedules depending upon market demands, so travelers should stay in close touch with their airlines if they are planning to travel in the near future.
Q3: Has concern about the coronavirus impacted Ontario airport’s operations?
A3: While passenger volumes on flights to and from Taipei, Taiwan on China Airlines have been understandably reduced, there has been no impact on airport operations overall. Ontario is the fastest growing airport in the United States, and we anticipate that our operations will continue to grow this month and in the months ahead.
Q4: Should I wear a face mask to protect myself while traveling through Ontario?
A4: Our public health partners are not recommending that travelers wear face masks, though travelers may do so if they feel more comfortable. It is important, however, that travelers maintain good personal hygiene throughout their travel. Wash hands regularly with soap and water, keep hands away from their face and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer as needed. Importantly, travelers should avoid coughing or sneezing into their hands, using their elbows instead. And it is always is a good idea to travel with disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces such as armrests and seat-back trays aboard commercial aircraft.
Q5: Is Ontario airport doing anything special to prevent coronavirus infections among passengers?
A5: Our senior leadership is actively monitoring developments regarding coronavirus infections and receiving regular updates from public health authorities, particularly the U.S. Centers for Disease Control which is spearheading the Federal Government’s prevention, detection and treatment activities. We are working closely with our federal security partners to screen arriving domestic and international passengers for signs of potential coronavirus infection.
Q6: Have any changes been made to Ontario operations that will protect air travelers?
A6: We regularly review our policies, procedures and practices in order to provide a first-rate, stress-free customer experience. Last year, we incorporated new passenger screening trays treated with powerful antimicrobial technology to inhibit the growth of bacteria on the surface of the bins used by travelers at TSA checkpoints in our terminals. Ontario was the first U.S. airport to receive the new trays from SecurityPoint Media in partnership with Microban International. More recently, we increased the frequency and intensity of efforts to disinfect washrooms and other public areas with cleaning agents intended to kill germs while also adding to the number of stations where passengers and employees can access free hand sanitizer.
Q7: Is Ontario International Airport equipped to handle an arriving flight with multiple passengers aboard who might be showing signs of coronavirus infection?
A7: It is worth noting that Ontario was preparing to receive one of the earliest evacuation flights of U.S. citizens from China before U.S. authorities made the decision to redirect those flights to military installations. We are confident that because of our training and preparation, we could effectively receive passengers who might be infected with coronavirus by working in close cooperation and coordination with our public health partners and first responders.
Q8: Is Ontario Airport screening incoming passengers for the coronavirus?
A8: Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control is doing health screenings only for passengers who are flying in from mainland China. Those screenings involve a temperature check and observations for symptoms. Because ONT’s China Airlines flight serves Taiwan rather than mainland China, no screening of incoming passengers is currently being conducted. However, news media reports suggest there are ongoing conversations at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about expanding airport health screenings due to the rapid spread of the infection in other countries. As with flight restrictions, airports do not have the legal authority to order or conduct screenings on their own.
Q9: Where can I get the latest information on coronavirus before I travel?
A9: We encourage all travelers and employees coming to Ontario to keep up with the latest information provided here by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The CDC information also includes country-specific travel advisories here.