Coronavirus: TSA allows hand sanitizer bottles up to 12 ounces for the first time ever to contain outbreak
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is allowing travelers to carry bottles of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces — more than three times the normal limit — in their carry-on luggage in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A spokesperson for the TSA told People this was the first time in history that the agency had extended these limits after having initiated the 3.4 ounce rule in September 2006.
“TSA is allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces to be permitted in carry-on bags until further notice,” TSA wrote on its website under Medical Exemptions.
That said, carrying a large bottle would mean spending more time at security as it requires a separate screening process.
“Passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to their checkpoint screening experience,” the site says.
VIDEO: Wondering what you can take in your carry-on bag to stay healthy?— TSA (@TSA) March 12, 2020
✅ hand sanitizer
✅ disinfecting wipes
✅ face masks
✅ and remember, you can ask our officers to change gloves
More info at https://t.co/tDqzZdAFR1 pic.twitter.com/QVdg3TEfyo
The new rule only applies to liquid hand sanitizer, the agency clarifies on its website. Other items such as cans of disinfectant spray are still prohibited due to their flammable nature.
“Please keep in mind that all other liquids, gels, and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be allowed at the limit of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in one quart-size bag,” the website reads.
The TSA has made several other changes to ensure the health and safety of travelers as well as employees amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During the screening process, TSA officers may be requested to change into a new pair of nitrile gloves, and they will be using fresh swabs for each traveler when testing for explosive materials.
Contrary to the regular course of action, passengers are also being requested not to put small, personal belongings such as wallets, keys, and phones in the bins. Instead, travelers are being asked to keep them stowed inside their carry-on luggage.
According to the CDC, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the coronavirus is to wash your hands often. And while people can use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol as an alternative, it is not as effective as washing hands with soap and hot water.
Almost 4,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 85 deaths have been reported in the US, as per NBC News. Meanwhile, the global death toll has crossed 7,500 with over 180,000 confirmed cases.