The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on March 13 announced Americans who are returning home after visiting restricted European countries, China, and Iran are required to travel through 13 U.S. airports, including DFW, after a travel ban announced by the Trump administration last week in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
DHS says that upon arrival, those travelers will proceed to standard customs processing, continue to enhanced entry screening where they will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.
The travelers will then be given information about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with Centers for Disease Control best practices, according to DHS.
“To minimize disruptions to travelers, TSA, CBP, and air carriers are working to identify qualifying passengers before their scheduled flights. These passengers will be rerouted to one of the 13 airports by their airline at no cost to them,” acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.
Social media is rife, however, with reports that the enhanced screening at DFW is not going smoothly.
Another look at what’s happening inside @DFWAirport and the lines at customs. Travelers say they’ve been in line 3-5 hours… Airport telling people delays are due to “enhanced screening for passengers” who have been abroad. @NBCDFW Video: Dorothy Lowe pic.twitter.com/beVj4TAsDM
— Katy Blakey (@KatyBlakeyNBC5) March 15, 2020
#BREAKING: Thousands of travelers stuck and crowded together in long lines @DFWAirport tonight. They’re waiting to get through passport check and customs, telling us they’re worried that everyone is so close to each other – ignoring #coronavirus protocols. pic.twitter.com/dGg5o7FHyj
— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) March 15, 2020
We landed from London about an hour ago. We were held on the plane for about 30 mins. Global entry only took us about 10 minutes but the rest of the crowd looked like that!
— Julie Jennings (@julietjennings) March 15, 2020
The March 13 announcement from DHS comes after a March 11 presidential proclamation, which DHS says suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been to certain European countries, China, and Iran at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled travel to the U.S.
The European countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, as of March 13, according to DHS.
DHS says the presidential proclamation doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, nor their family members under the age of 21, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation, nor does it apply to cargo and economic shipping.
“We continue to work closely with federal, state and local public health partners to support efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of everyone at DFW Airport,” a statement on the airport’s website said.
Some air service, terminal services, and airport events have also been impacted by efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the airport.
- Air Service
- Flights: To ensure the status of individual flights, check with your air carrier. View the list of air carriers at DFW Airport here.
- Earth Day: DFW Earth Day celebrations set for April 22-23 have been canceled.
In January 2020, DFW Airport says staff began enhanced cleaning efforts in Terminal D, which houses many of the international flights to and from the airport. The airport says DFW’s Customer Experience team paid close attention to touchpoints throughout the terminal, including the international arrivals area.
Since then, the airport says those enhanced efforts’ have been extended throughout the five terminals and facilities across the airport.