Ford Airport treats coronavirus with caution, not fear

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The staff at Gerald R. Ford International Airport is gearing up to respond to the potential spread of coronavirus as the number of U.S. cases continue to climb. 

The airport says it expects the impact, if any, to be minimal. Airing on the side of caution, it has added additional hand sanitizing kiosks to help passengers stay healthy.

Some travelers say they are still concerned about the risk traveling may pose. 

“I get somewhat freaked out, especially in airports because that’s like everyone traveling from different places,” college student Macie Zack said as she returned from her spring break vacation. 

Some travelers have resorted to canceling or rearranging their trips in an effort to avoid the illness. 

“I think it’s kind of a fear for everybody,” said Stacy Kamphuis, who was at the airport to pick up family members. “We’re leaving for Florida next week and we chose not to fly but to drive instead because it seems safer.”

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Ford Airport staff said that thus far, the travel cancellations have not impacted the airport and they hope it remains that way. 

“We are taking all the necessary precautions. We have our cleaning crew, who is staffed here 24/7. Usually after that last bank of flights come out in the evening, our cleaning crews are going through and making sure they’re sanitizing those public spaces, hand rails, elevators,” Ford Airport spokesperson Tara Hernandez said. 

Hernandez said those are routine practices, but the airport staff have been making sure to encourage passengers to be even more hygiene aware, washing and sanitizing their hands more often. 

“You want to be cautious but don’t miss out on a moment to spend with your family. You want to be able to enjoy those moments and not let that fear sink in,” Hernandez added.

Ford Airport is telling passengers, per the World Health Organization and CDC, that they can travel domestically. They can also still travel internationally, though hot spots like China or Italy, where there have been quite a few cases and deaths, are not recommended.

Currently, there are no known cases of coronavirus in Michigan.

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