Photo by @lindsakate via Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Facebook

Whether a traveler’s business necessitates flying or they just couldn’t resist those discount airfares, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport remains open and operating during the COVID-19 outbreak.

During a press conference Tuesday, Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck, Executive Director Steve Metruck, and Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle discussed the steps Sea-Tac is taking to continue its mission to keep the public safe during travel in and out of its facilities.

As the eighth busiest airport in North America with 51 million passengers annually, Sea-Tac is seeing a noticeable dip in travelers. During this time last year, the airport saw 50,000 passengers through security checkpoints to mark the beginning of the spring break travel season. Currently, the airport is averaging 16,000 passengers.

This drop in passengers can largely be attributed to airlines suspending flights to mainland China (Beijing and Shanghai), Osaka, Amsterdam, and Paris, and reducing service to destinations like Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Dubai, Dublin, London, and Frankfurt.

Airport leadership outlined many of the operational adjustments the airport has taken in last two weeks to keep pace with the evolving health landscape including disinfecting high-touch areas, increasing public health information, and installing 140 hand sanitizer stations — with plans to install 100 more.

Though some shops and restaurants are temporarily closed, most airport dining and retail tenants still are operating with reduced hours and services. Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck expressed his gratitude toward the employees of these shops and restaurants who screened regularly and are upholding personal hygiene guidelines.

“With thousands of workers spread among hundreds of different employers, (Sea-Tac) is one of the densest indoor employment centers in our region,” Steinbrueck said. “These are the people who make our travel work and we are grateful for the sacrifices they are making every day to keep the airport running safely and efficiently as possible.”

For more information about Sea-Tac’s response to COVID-19, visit this website.