Greeters, screeners and testers: A look at COVID-19 testing at Fairbanks International Airport
Alaska Health Mandate 10 says that anyone traveling into the state must be tested no more than 72 hours before coming to Alaska, or be tested after they arrive and then isolated until their test comes back negative. Anyone who does not want to be tested is required to quarantine for 14 days. We went to Fairbanks International Airport to learn more about how they are meeting the state mandate.
"We have greeters, screeners, as well as testers here,” said Amanda Johnson, the vice president of medical and training services at Beacon. “So first they are greeted by individuals to take some information on whether they are a guest to the state of Alaska, a resident, and or a [part of] critical infrastructure.”
The greeters help direct people to the line they are supposed to go to. After getting into line, screeners review their declaration page and discuss what option they want for quarantine or testing.
“Following that if they have opted in for testing they proceed over to sign in for that testing and then proceed to the actual test," Johnson said.
The whole process takes around 40 minutes from the first guest until the last. The mandate went into effect on June, 6. However, some travelers weren’t expecting it.
"I didn't really realize it was going to be like this, you get a bunch of paper work and you are trying to figure out what to do I guess. And then you come and long lines," said Katrina Bishop, who is returning to the state from college. But she said it was just a minor inconvenience, "It was fine, I don't, I don't know how they could do it any better. I mean you get in a line and that is kind of it. But I think it's going pretty well."
The airport does have some tips for getting though the lines faster. "The preference and suggestion is to have the testing done before you come to the state of Alaska. But there is an option to have that done here," said Melissa Stepovich, the marketing and communications manager for the airport. She also encourages people to make sure their paperwork is completed before they get off of the airplane.
While there is testing available, Johnson said that they don’t want to have to test everyone who comes into the state, but, "It's sponsored by the state at this time through the contract so there is no additional cost to the individual to comply with Health Mandate 10."
More information about the travel requirements can be found on the Alaska COVID-19