Pandemic Precautions at the Philadelphia International Airport

Roz Warren
Sign at a store in the concourse at the Philadelphia International Airportphoto taken by author

Will your travel plans be taking you to the Philadelphia International Airport soon? Here's what can you expect when it comes to COVID awareness and precautions.

I flew from Philadelphia to San Francisco yesterday. The good news is that the airport itself is hyper-aware when it comes to COVID prevention. Signs everywhere tell passengers to mask up and social distance, including one very Philly-centric sign I spotted in the electronics store featuring Sylvester Stallone's iconic Rocky.

Unlike my last trip through the airport a year ago, when there few signs, and I was one of the only travelers wearing a mask, now there are signs everywhere and everyone is masked.

Not only are they masked, but almost everyone is wearing their masks properly, not just over their mouths or on their chins.

So there was plenty of masking up. That's the good news. The not so good news? There was no social distancing. Although there were plenty of signs telling travelers to stay 6 feet from each other, and even markers on the floor to help them judge the appropriate distance, everyone ignored them and crowded together.

In every line I had to stand in, people stood right next to me. Going through security, there was zero effort made to enforce social distancing. It was the usual crowded scene.

But at least everyone wore masks.
April 29, 2021 Not Much Social Distancing at the Philadelphia International Airport. photo taken by author

Part of the problem? There were a lot of folks traveling. The airport was packed. So even if you made an effort to stand apart from others. it couldn't be done. There were just too many of us in too small a space.

I spotted a girl wearing a T Shirt that said YOU ARE STANDING TOO CLOSE. That pretty much summed up the situation.

But at least we were all wearing masks. Everywhere, that is, but the food court, which is open for business, with tables spaced further apart than they used to be, and travelers chowing down on yummy fast food.

Elsewhere in the concourse, people were sitting eating snacks or drinking coffee, but attempting to keep their masks on. I enjoyed watching their often comical attempts to eat and drink around their masks -- pulling them aside awkwardly or lifting them up briefly to insert straw-into-mouth.

It could look a little silly but I appreciated the effort. I took of my mask for the 10 minutes it took me to drink my Starbucks coffee. Even though I was many feet away from anyone else, I felt very daring.

The takeaway? If you plan to travel through the Philadelphia International Airport any time soon? You're going to have to mask up. But you won't be able to keep your distance from your fellow travelers -- even if you want to.

So mask up and hope for the best -- and be sure to enjoy a tasty Philadelphia Cheesesteak in the food court!

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Roz Warren, the author of JUST ANOTHER DAY AT YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY, has appeared on both the Today Show and Morning Edition, writes for everyone from the Funny Times to the New York Times, and has been included in 13 Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. Drop her a line at

Bala Cynwyd, PA

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