Amid coronavirus concerns, Hawaii steps up efforts to sanitize airports

Updated: Mar. 4, 2020 at 9:47 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With travelers from around the world visiting Hawaii, the state is boosting efforts to sanitize airports amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

“There are 58,000 people or so, on average, that come and go through (Honolulu) airport alone on any given day. That’s a lot of people, touching a lot of things,” said state DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara.

“The janitor staff does a very good job trying to go through and clean as much as possible.”

Evelyn Meyers has been part of the janitorial team at Honolulu's airport for nearly two decades.

The custodial crew cleans 24/7, with roughly 35 people working during each of the eight-hour shifts.

Even before the new coronavirus threat, their carts were equipped with face masks, gloves, goggles and disinfectants. They wipe down and sanitize frequently-touched surfaces.

Deep cleaning is done overnight.

"Escalators, elevators, stairwell railings, chairs, anything they basically touch is what we sanitize," said Meyers.

Restrooms are also cleaned from top to bottom.

“They can clean it and 10 minutes later, two flights could come in with a few hundred people on them, and it could look like a tornado came through,” said Sakahara, of the Transportation Department.

“It’s a constant battle.”

Canadian visitors Grant Getz and his wife are glad that they didn't cancel their trip to Hawaii.

"I think it's good to play it safe and eliminate any possibility of germs that might be spread by passengers," he said.

Officials also ordered additional hand sanitizer dispensers to install.

Since the shipment has been delayed, however, they passed out cases of hand wipes to employees throughout the airport facility.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.