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Norfolk International Airport cautions travelers with PSA recording on coronavirus, flu

The public service announcement mentions washing hands, using sanitizer and not touching your face.

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Airport Authority officials hope simple reminders during flu season will go a long way.

A public service announcement is playing throughout Norfolk International Airport every hour. It lists CDC-recommended tips to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus.

The PSA mentions using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available. Also, you should avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Some travelers think the reminder is unnecessary.

"I think everybody is making a big deal about it,” said Jackie Schuette. “The flu is probably worse. More people die from the flu than they have from coronavirus."

Others are airing on the side of caution. 

“We don't know what kind of track it will take,” said Rachel Camron. “It might get worse. You would want to make sure that you are on that proactive side instead of ignoring it."

The PSA also pops across digital boards every few minutes. 

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Airport Administration and Operations Director Steve Sterling said the CDC provided the recording, which pushes passengers to the CDC’s website.

There they can find answers to frequently asked travel questions like when to postpone a trip. 

"There are some airlines that have been waiving change fees for international travelers,” Sterling said. “So, those traveling internationally, I would check the CDC's website for any advisories."

He said staff is reviewing the communicable disease infection control plan. It details how to respond to pandemic-type scenarios, like if an aircraft arrives with ill passengers on board.

Every flu season, the airport makes sure the workplace is stocked with supplies like hand sanitizer. Sterling said they also instruct employees to wash hands more often and call out when sick.

But with public attention on the coronavirus, Sterling said they are emphasizing those preventative measures.

“We have our janitorial staff who is providing extra servicing in the restrooms to make sure our soap dispensers and towel dispensers are full,” Sterling said. 

They also have extra hand sanitizer and masks on hand for employees.

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Coronavirus travel advisories are weighing in with travel plans in the works.

 "Summer is only a few months away,” Camron said. “So we don't know what is going to happen between now and then."

But Schuette can't wait for her next adventure.

“We are going to be traveling in the next few months,” Schuette said. “So, we have no problem traveling."

Get a look at the CDC’s coronavirus page here.