Thursday, April 2, 2020

Charleston airport passengers down 96 percent with quarantine advisory coming from COVID-19 "hot spots"

Check in any time you like, but you can't leave for 14 days

Posted by Lindsay Street on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 7:06 AM

click to enlarge FLICKR USER ERUSSELL1984
  • Flickr user erussell1984
Advisories, not Southern hospitality, greet the handful of passengers still trickling into Charleston International Airport these days, with the state mandating those traveling from New York, Louisiana, Connecticut, and New Jersey must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The mandate is part of Gov. Henry McMaster’s March 27 executive order requiring isolation for those traveling to the state from any coronavirus “hot spot.” Violators face up to 30 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. There are no reports yet on anyone exchanging a 14-day hotel bill for the bargain, month-long option.

Everyone who boards a plane bound for South Carolina hears an announcement that passengers traveling from hot spots must self-quarantine. When their plane lands, they hear the same announcement. And if they still weren’t quite sure about the seriousness of it all, signs throughout the airport and along the road leaving the airport repeat the message, according to airport CEO Paul Campbell.

“Signs are posted everywhere,” he says. “All we can do is advise them.”

Admittedly, the audience for such a message is narrow. The number of people coming and going at the state’s busiest airport have dropped from 16,000 to 600 as trips are canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, Campbell says, adding that there are few if any direct flights from any hot spot.

Meanwhile, airport employees are deep cleaning the airport “all the time” and some staff are working from home, he says. And every day, revenues keep dipping — by how much? That won’t be known for another week or so, he said.

“I don’t intend to furlough. We’re going to do our best to dance around that,” Campbell says.

He expressed optimism for getting through the crisis in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to keep running it,” he said. “There’s a pent up demand that people are going to want to go out and do something … I think it will bounce back.”

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