WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reached a pandemic milestone Friday when it scanned more than 2 million passengers for the first time since March 2020.
Friday’s 2,028,961 passengers don’t quite match the 2,727,860 travelers scanned on June 11, 2019. But this year’s total nearly quadruples the 519,304 scans recorded on the same date last year.
"The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country’s resilience and the high level of confidence in COVID-19 counter measures, to include ready access to vaccines," said Darby LaJoye, a senior TSA official. "TSA stands ready to provide a safe and secure screening process as part of the overall travel experience."
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2021/05/28: Travelers wait in line at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening checkpoint at Orlando International Airport on the Friday before Memorial Day. As more and more people have received the
Airport traffic plummeted in the spring of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic made travel less safe. Before the pandemic, TSA conducted between 2 million and 2.5 million scans per day.
But it scanned just 87,534 on April 13, 2020.
As the FDA-authorized vaccines became more widely available, travelers flocked back to the airport — especially after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deemed domestic travel safe for fully-vaccinated passengers this April.
Airlines prepared for more passengers by rolling back safety protocols, like unblocking middle seats. Even so, face coverings are still required at airports and airplanes.
TSA said passengers will be required to wear masks on planes, busses, trains and other forms of public transport through Sept. 13, regardless of their vaccination status.
This story was reported from Atlanta.