Friday Jun 12, 2020

"The Impact of COVID-19 on Travel"

Lorie Dankers

Public Affairs Manager Transportation Security Administration / Department of Homeland Security

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Today’s speaker, Lorie Dankers, is the Seattle-based public affairs manager for the Transportation Security Administration, handling media and public affairs duties for the western and mid-western United States. Lorie was introduced by Howard Johnson.

Lorie started by showing the growth in air travel from 2016 to the present. Every year the number of travelers had increased but in March of this year the number of travelers had a huge drop with the onset of COVID-19. Nationally the number of travelers is normally 2 million plus per week but in March it was less than 500,000. The passenger volume dropped to 1954 levels – 66 years ago when air travel was in its infancy!

Sea-Tac averaged 55-60,000 travelers per day prior to the pandemic but yesterday it was 11,300 travelers with a low of 2500! TSA is seeing a slow recovery going on at this point. The restaurants at the airport are closed with some having take-out.

Here are the protocols you can expect when traveling thru Sea-Tac.

  • Masks are required by the airlines and Sea-Tac.
  • It is recommended you wash your hands before and after the security screening process,
  • Spacing of 6 feet (social distancing) is required at the check point. Practice social distancing throughout the airport. There is ample signage reminding you.
  • Passengers will now scan and keep possession of their own boarding pass.
  • ID does have to be handed to the TSA officers.
  • You may have to adjust face coverings for your facial ID. If so, very quickly. Clear is open.
  • Food will need to be removed for x-ray screening. The recommendation is to carry it in a clear bag.
  • You can carry up to 12 ounces of liquid sanitizer. All other liquids are still 3 ounces.
  • Plexiglass shields have been installed for everyone’s protection at checkpoints.

One-point Lorie shared is that every day there is a tremendous number of water bottles that go to a landfill. Please try to empty them prior to reaching the checkpoint where it is mandatory to discard them. Empty bottles can be recycled!

Lorie also shared there are a lot of items that are confiscated at the checkpoint and TSA gives them to the state to auction off. Check your luggage to make sure everything you are carrying is approved!

Thank you, Steve Goldfarb and Alvin Goldfarb Jewelers, for your speaker donation today!

 President Desiree opened the meeting at 730 PM and led the invocation and pledge. Next Sheldon Sweeney did the introduction of visiting Rotarians and guests.

Jason Churney, Community Service Director for BBRC, discussed the committees under Community Service – Adoption party, Harvest against Hunger, Thanksgiving baskets, Holiday Giving Tree and Preserve Planet Earth – and the grants / projects completed during the last year for Issaquah Food Bank, Attain Housing and the Literary project with summer books for Lake Hills Elementary. Jason thanked all the Committee Chair’s for their effort and commitment. Next year (2020-21 Rotary Year) Morris Kremen will be taking over as Community Service Director!

Tom Leonidas, Director of International Service, shared International Service’s projects and the leadership for that project:

  • Computers for the World – John Martinka
  • 3D Prosthetics – Doug Pinkley
  • Pediatric Health Columbia – Martin Clavijo
  • Australia Fire Relief – Margie Burnett
  • Stove team, a District project – John Martinka
  • Imagine Scholar – Mike Ralph
  • In Reserve for a project– Steve Roberts
  • Malaria Project for Zambia, a District project – Kaj Pedersen

Bill Feldt of the Rotary Club of Federal Way shared information on the Malaria project in Zambia and its impact, as well as the funding thru BBRC, Federal Way Rotary, a match from Rotary International and another from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A total of $25,000 is being used to help eradicate Malaria!

Tom thanked each Project Chair for their commitments and efforts. He also recognized John Martinka for his planning and coordination of the trip to Antigua this year (one of many) for Computers for the World.

About the Speaker

Ms. Dankers is currently the Seattle-based public affairs manager for the Transportation Security Administration, handling media and public affairs duties for the western and mid-western United States. In this role, she is responsible for explaining TSA programs, procedures and priorities to reporters and key stakeholders; publicly representing the agency’s position on transportation security matters; and overseeing security-related outreach programs.

After graduating from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University, Lorie began her career in Washington, D.C., working in television news before working for the U.S. Senate. She later joined the media relations office at the U.S. Department of Transportation, working as public affairs spokeswoman alongside three different Secretaries of Transportation. In 2006, she joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a spokeswoman for U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She has been with TSA since fall 2011.