WICHITA (AP) — The top federal Transportation Safety Administration official in Kansas says he raised concerns about the need for coronavirus precautions at airports early during the pandemic and pushed the agency to put them in place nationally.
Jay Brainard, a federal security director with the TSA based in Wichita, moved to make sure that employees used masks and hand sanitizer in Kansas airports by March, The Wichita Eagle reports. He said that when he didn't see those practices adopted nationally, he used whistleblower complaints to push the issue.
Brainard said the TSA moved fairly quickly in response to his concerns and is now “headed in a good direction.”
The TSA announced May 7 that employees would be required to wear face coverings at screening checkpoints. The agency reminded passengers on May 21 about measures such as social distancing and mask wearing ahead of Memorial Day, and the TSA launched a “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign on June 30.
TSA spokesman Mark Howell said in a statement that coronavirus precautions were in the works before Brainard raised his concerns.
Howell acknowledged that Brainard and TSA Administrator David Pekoske spoke recently but added that Pekoske has been holding weekly town hall meetings with employees since March 17.