Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport implements new procedures amid coronavirus outbreak


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) is establishing additional precautions to prevent the ongoing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to a CNN tally of data from state health officials, 100 people in the United States have died from the virus.

With 67 “presumptively positive” cases of the coronavirus in Virginia, health officials and political leaders like Governor Ralph Northam are urging people to take all necessary precautions and safety measures.

The Roanoke Regional Airport Commission (RRAC) says they have been closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak since late January.

The Airport Commission has been vigilant and proactive in our approach to maintain a healthy environment for all travelers, stakeholders, and staff. Our primary goal is to prevent transmission through disinfection of facilities, raising awareness of public health measures, and reducing person-to-person transmission.

Roanoke Regional Airport Commission

Officials say the RRAC has established a communication network made up of federal, state, and local partners including the Roanoke City Health Department, Virginia Department of Health, Center for Disease Control (CDC), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), and other related organizations.

A hand sanitizer station placed outside McAlister’s Deli inside the terminal complex.

Procedures have also been implemented at the airport’s facilities for COVID-19 prevention:

  • Hand sanitizers strategically placed and additional units ordered for deployment throughout the terminal complex at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA);
  • ROA custodial staff have increased their disinfection efforts in the following high traffic areas: door handles, escalator handrails, elevator controls, countertops, paper towel/toilet paper dispensers, tables, chairs, vinyl seating, parking equipment, and ticket counter podiums;
  • ROA has confirmed through discussion with airline personnel that public-facing equipment (including self-check-in kiosks) are disinfected throughout the day;
  • ROA has received guidance from TSA that passengers should wash/sanitize their hands before and after the checkpoint. Additionally, wallets, phones, and keys kept in carry-on baggage and not placed in a bin;
  • Signage outlining CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) best practices are located in all restrooms and heavy public traffic areas; and
  • ROA distributed an internal email to all airport stakeholders outlining best practices for cleaning public areas from the WHO and CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel for eight weeks. If you do decide to travel, they ask that you be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel.

Below are some recommendations from Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport:

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

  • Be committed to practicing good personal hygiene.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid shaking hands with everyone.
  • Avoid direct contact and close contact (within 6 feet) of people who are sick.

What steps can I take to protect others from COVID-19?

  • If you are sick or ill, please STAY HOME, avoid public areas and public transportation.
  • If you sneeze or cough, please do so into your elbow.
  • IMPORTANT – All immune systems are not alike. Individuals that are older (above 60), have immune deficiencies, or have chronic health conditions are at HIGH RISK. By staying home, you are helping high-risk individuals stay safe during this critical time.

At this time, the Roanoke Regional Airport Authority and Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport will remain operational. Airport officials say they will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide additional information when it becomes available.

Other local airports have also implemented certain procedures amid coronavirus concerns. Click the links to read their full statements.


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