San Jose Airport Gets Creative with Pandemic-Related Health and Safety Measures

When public health officials announced sweeping safety and sanitation measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic in March, keeping the Mineta San Jose International Airport felt like an impossibly daunting task.

Thankfully, SJC got creative.

Michael Laurion and Michael Graves—two members of the airport’s facilities and engineering team—came up with their own solution by fabricating and designing hand sanitizing fixtures and plexiglass shields. Those two safety items are now ubiquitous at SJC, part of the airport’s commitment to the safety of employees and passengers alike.

“That is our top priority,” SJC spokeswoman Demetria Machado said. “We’re doing all we can to make sure SJC is a travel-safe environment.”

Once the coronavirus pandemic hit, SJC worked around the clock to implement new health and safety measures. Some of the new features at the airport include social-distancing signage and floor decals, plexiglass shields at ticket counters and boarding gate podiums, and hand sanitizing fixtures at high touch point areas.

To make sure they left no stone unturned, the airport custodial team uses an electrostatic sprayer daily to clean hard-to-reach areas, including between hold-room seats, keyboards at ticket counters and other locations throughout the airport.

The electrostatic sprayer is basically a high-tech deep cleaner that coats hard-to-reach areas. The fact that Laurion and Graves designed and fabricated the cleaning materials out of their shop at SJC is another example of Silicon Valley ingenuity, officials said.

“They got creative and basically followed the Silicon Valley way and came up with a solution,” Machado told San Jose Inside. “We’re always looking for new ways to stay on top of things and make sure we have the safest travel environment possible.”

Laurion and Graves also handcrafted and designed restroom partitions that provide more protection between faucets and urinals. The plexiglass shields—approximately 180 have been installed throughout the airport—proved to be a cost-saver for SJC as well. “That type of fixture would normally cost us $160, but they’re making them for $60,” Machado said. “So not only were they hard to find, but the cost savings for us is pretty significant.”

It’s no secret the airline industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, SJC was down 97 percent in total traffic for April, which includes passengers, crew members and employees. In May, the number was at 93.8 percent and for June 86.8 percent.

“We have seen an uptick in passengers, specifically in June,” Machado said. “And we expect to see more in July and the summer months.”

To read more about the safety rules and sanitation measures SJC has implemented in response to the pandemic, click here

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