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Haven’t been to the airport lately? What you need to know ahead of the holidays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you haven’t been to an airport since the pandemic began, you’re not alone -- but you might want to take stock of some changes before you head out for the holidays.

We all have our routines with holiday travel. But the COVID-19 pandemic means you’ll see some changes you might not expect at Jacksonville International Airport.

The team at Jacksonville Aviation Authority wants you to be prepared before you head to JAX -- and they want you to know your health and safety is their top priority.

RELATED: How will air travel be different this holiday season?

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have been laser-focused on implementing the aviation industry’s best practices in response to COVID-19, and we are confident that we will still provide a safe and enjoyable journey through JAX this holiday season,” said Mark VanLoh, CEO of JAA.

You’ll need all the regular items like a picture ID and a boarding pass, but you’ll also need a mask.

JAA spokesperson Michael Stewart said the mask mandate is enforceable and passengers could end up on TSA’s No Fly list if they do not comply. The one thing that’s NOT enforceable is social distancing. Airport officials want travelers to exercise caution and follow CDC guidelines.

“That’s going to be kind of a personal issue. We’re not going to go around and enforce the 6 foot social distancing rule,” Stewart said. “We are strongly suggesting the people respect the safety of other people, and obviously people who work in the airport and on the airlines.”

Airline travel is expected to soar to 7,000 passengers a day in November compared to 400 to 500 flyers a day back in April.

But the airport and the airlines are ready for the increase in bags and passengers -- counting on the holiday season for a much-needed bump in business.

Here are the changes you’ll see:

Parking

Economy Lot No. 1 will open only on Wednesday, Nov. 25 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for Thanksgiving travel. All vehicles parked in Economy Lot No. 1 must exit by Nov. 30. In April, JAA dramatically reduced on-airport parking rates in the daily and hourly garages and the daily surface lot.

Parking locationDaily Rate
Hourly Garage$10
Daily Garage$10
Daily Surface Lot$7
Economy Lot No. 1$6

Concessions

Several restaurants in the terminal are open to accommodate the influx of travelers but with limited menus and modified hours.

COVID-19 safety

JAA provides all information related to the airport’s COVID-19 response at JaxAirportCares.com. While many procedures were in effect at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, these enhanced protective measures are currently in place for the well-being of travelers:

  • Facial Coverings: Travelers are required to wear a facial covering when in the terminal, per the City of Jacksonville’s mask mandate. Masks will be provided to any traveler that may not have one available.
  • Frequent cleaning of high-touch areas throughout the terminal: Janitorial staff adhere to CDC guidelines for cleaning, utilize CDC recommended cleaning solutions, and conduct frequent disinfection of high-touch areas.
  • Stand-alone and wall-mounted hand sanitizers: Stand-alone and wall-mounted hand sanitizers have been installed in strategic locations throughout the terminal.
  • Plexiglas barriers at ticketing, information desk and gates: Plexiglas screening barriers (or sneeze guards) are installed at ticket counters, gates and other locations where employees have direct contact with the public.
  • Reduced seating at restaurants and food courts: Seating at open restaurants and the food court areas have been reduced to limit crowding and promote social distancing.

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