Pandemic Precautions at San Francisco International Airport

Roz Warren
COVID Safety sign at SFO. May 5 2021photo by author

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

I flew from San Francisco to Philadelphia yesterday. The great news is that the airport itself is hyper-aware when it comes to COVID prevention. There were signs everywhere telling passengers to mask up and maintain social distance.
COVID Safety sign at SFO. May 5 2021photo by author

And the signs seemed to be working. I didn’t see a single traveler or airport employee who wasn’t wearing a mask. Some, in fact wore two. (The N95 + plastic visor combo was very popular.) 

Not only was everyone masked, but most wore their masks properly, not just over their mouths or on their chins. Even tiny children wore their masks over their noses. 

There were also plenty of hand sanitizing stations in use:
COVID Safety sign at SFO. May 5 2021photo by author

So there was plenty of hand washing and masking up. Social distancing was a bit more challenging, but SFO ws rocking that too. There were countless signs telling travelers to stay 6 feet apart:
COVID Safety sign at SFO. May 5 2021photo by author

There were markers on the floor to people judge the appropriate distance. There were also frequent announcements telling travelers to give each other space. Not only that but the corridors, boarding areas and other public spaces at SFO, unlike at some other airports, are very spacious. And the airport wasn’t that crowded. So, unlike the Philadelphia International Airport, SFO gets top marks for social distancing. 

Inevitably, there were a few bottlenecks. Waiting in line for security, and to board the airplane, people tended to crowd together a bit, although there was enough room to spread out. But most did their best to stay safe by staying 6 feet apart.
Social Distancing at SFO. May 5, 2021photo by author

But at least everyone wore masks. Even in the restaurants that were open (not all of the airport eateries were), where I saw travelers pulling their masks down to take a bite or lifting them up briefly to insert straw-into-mouth. That could look a bit awkward but I appreciated the effort. In fact I appreciated the fact that everyone at SFO -- traveling public and airport employees seemed happy to make the effort needed to keep us all safe. 

It made me feel a lot less anxious about traveling. 

The takeaway? If you plan to travel through the San Francisco International Airport any time soon? You’ll have to mask up. You'll have plenty of opportunities to keep your hands clean. And you’ll find that keeping a safe distance from your fellow travelers won't be a problem.

So? Put on your mask and head for the airport. And enjoy Safe Travels! 

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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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