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FGCU professor says airports should prepare to offer COVID-19 tests before flights

Soon they may not have a choice
Posted at 8:07 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 20:07:17-05

LEE COUNTY — It may soon be a requirement to get a COVID-19 test before getting on a plane.

The Biden administration is considering the move, as airports across the country start to offer testing right in the terminal. There are also reports the federal government is looking at banning travel altogether to states like Florida, where the COVID-19 variants are spreading.

That’s something Governor DeSantis pushed back against in a press conference Thursday morning in Port Charlotte.

"There was some type of report about potential travel restrictions on Americans and on Floridians, and I just, I think it’s an absurd report that they would be doing that. I think it would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise, and it would be unjust," said DeSantis.

But Associate Professor Jase Ramsey at Florida Gulf Coast University tells us, he doesn’t think a complete ban on travel is likely.

"I don’t think it’s feasible to go state by state. Yes you can go here, or no you can’t go there," said Ramsey.

Ramsey said, what’s more likely is testing before flights.

"I do think that they’re going to require, just like they are on the international flights, people to show something. Whether it be an app, like I think United is doing, to where you’re going around and can show recently you’ve been tested and you got a negative," said Ramsey.

And Ramsey said, if the Biden administration makes that move, it will happen fast.

"It’ll be quick. It won’t be in 45 days everyone has to show a negative test. It’ll be a week, so we’ve got to be ready," said Ramsey.

Ramsey said airports like Tampa International will be ready for that change with testing in the airport already. It costs $60 to get a rapid test there that can get you results in about 20 minutes. Ramsey wants to see the same at Southwest Florida International.

"If we’re ready, then we won’t have this two week pause while we’re getting ourselves prepared. So I think if Tampa, they’re going to be ready to go. So I think we should as well in Southwest Florida at our regional airport," said Ramsey.

RSW did get back to us, saying it doesn’t have testing because sites like Centurylink in Fort Myers have free testing, and serve thousands of people a day. The airport said it doesn’t have any plans right now for testing in the terminal.