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TSA: Federal employee vaccine mandate won't impact ability to handle holiday travel

Posted at 12:31 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 12:31:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. --Monday marks the last day for federal workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and that includes TSA agents.

This comes at at time when TSA workers are highly needed as millions are expected to take to the skies for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Travel numbers are expected to approach near pre-pandemic levels at Richmond International Airport (RIC), and TSA said the vaccine mandate will not impact their ability to handle holiday travel.

"I’m ecstatic," said traveler Joe Johnson. "I can't wait to see my baby girl. This is my first born."

Johnson and Doris Carr are taking their first flight since the pandemic.

“I’m hoping and praying everyone is vaccinated," Carr noted. "I’m double masked, so I can go through it, and I pray we will be alright."

TSA said approximately 93% of employees are in compliance with the federal vaccine mandate.

"I think getting the vaccine is very, very important," said Richmonder Lucinda Maddox.

Maddox has had both of her COVID-19 vaccine shots and the booster shot. She’s hoping Thanksgiving 2021 is better than 2020.

"Lonely, that’s what it was, a very hard year," she explained.

TSA advises travelers to get to the airport at least two hours before your flight, and be prepared to go through the screening process.

"We are all here to do the same thing, so just be patient and have fun," said Carr.

Mask requirements are still in place for all airport travelers and employees.

Wednesday is expected to be the busiest travel day at RIC.