NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry officials say travel to and from the Charleston area is still safe despite the recent spike in COVID-19 numbers. This comes as the Charleston International Airport had its own face masks mandate take effect on Monday.
If you’re planning to take to the sky, a mask is now required for those entering and exiting the Charleston International Airport. A large portion of those at the airport on Monday, the first day of the mandate, we’re seen wearing a mask. Despite the latest mask mandate, officials believe the Lowcountry remains a safe destination for travelers and residents.
“Our message to the local community is the exact same thing to the traveler is that we need to make sure that we are following the protocols,” says Dan Blumenstock, a board member for the Lowcountry Hospitality Association.
The Charleston International Airport joins several municipalities and businesses with similar requirements. Many people are now questioning the safety of traveling to and from the Lowcountry. Blumenstock believes people should feel safe with the added precautions and safety measures in place.
“I feel it’s safe to live here so that would be my response to you, is that if I feel safe that I’m living here that I would feel safe also having a traveler,” says Blumenstock.
Precautions are in place across the board for much of the Tri-county area to protect employees and patrons. Blumenstock says even with lower tourism numbers than many would have liked to see in the City of Charleston, the Charleston Visitors Bureau has paused promoting the city in drive-able markets.
“Instead of an out-of-town approach, we have completely halted any of that and we’re actually continuing to put resources into the local community,” says Blumenstock.
Travelers planning to travel through Charleston International Airport are required to mask up starting Monday after the mandate was announced late last week. Travelers believe it’s the right move to protect everyone passing through the airport.
“Absolutely, I think that it is the right step just because now it’s gone as far as possibly airborne,” says Kelli Tisdale, who was traveling home to Dallas. “You know a lot of people do have it and don’t have symptoms.”
Tisdale, believes the mandate only makes sense, especially with most airlines already having similar requirements and protocols in place.
“I like how they are requiring everyone to have masks, I really like how they are no longer making it an option,” says Tisdale. “You know safety first.”
A step taken across much of the Lowcountry in past weeks, Blumenstock says it wasn’t hard to see the mandate coming.
“I think that it’s just a natural response to where we’re at as a local community,” says Blumenstock.
Masks are required to be worn at all times in the airport. Masks can be taken off for a short period of time to eat but officials ask that they be put back on when finished. Airport officials say acceptable face coverings include bandanas, scarves, t-shirts or any fabric that covers your nose and mouth.