Effective from 5.00 am on 15 March 2020, EuroAirport implemented the stricter measures against the corona virus announced by the French Prime Minister on the evening of 14 March 2020. As a result, all restaurants and shops are closed. With a few exceptions, take-aways and tobacco and newspaper shops at EuroAirport have also been closed since 19 March 2020.
Effective from 8 am on 16 March 2020, Germany reintroduced checks at its internal borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. Only persons with valid grounds for traveling will now be allowed to enter the country at the designated borders. Travel that is not absolutely essential should be avoided.
Switzerland’s Federal Council has decided that, starting at midnight on 17 March 2020, checks will be conducted at all its borders with neighbouring countries. It has also imposed entry bans with exceptions for Swiss nationals, persons holding a residence permit for Switzerland and persons who have to enter Switzerland for work-related reasons. Effective on 17 March 2020, 12 am France introduced more stringent measures. The population is requested to stay at home.
The European Union has decided to reintroduce border controls at the Schengen external borders. Effective from 9 am on 19 March 2020, all non-Schengen nationals will be checked on arrival at EuroAirport. Entry is still possible for citizens of the EU and the other Schengen States such as Switzerland and Great Britain, as well as for persons who are resident in these States.
Airport management is carefully monitoring the situation and maintaining close contact with the Swiss and French health authorities (BAG and ARS respectively). The protection of airport users has top priority. The protective measures prescribed by the competent authorities are implemented in accordance with official instructions and continuously adapted to the evolving situation.
On 10 March 2020, an in-house task force was established grouping all important airport operations departments. In addition, there are regular meetings at the airport with all significant partners and companies. The current situation is thus constantly monitored, measures are jointly evaluated, adapted as necessary, and coordinated with the competent authorities
In order to create awareness, travelers are informed about the symptoms of the disease, steps to be taken and recommendations of the public health authorities through flyers, posters and on-screen displays. Since the end of February, incoming passengers have been informed about the enhanced measures through the public address system in the arrival halls.
Since the beginning of March 2020, hygiene measures have also been increased. Cleaning shifts have been reinforced. Surfaces and areas exposed to heavy use, such as escalators, lift buttons, door handles and toilets are cleaned and disinfected more frequently.
Consequences for airport operations
Since the beginning of March 2020, the number of passengers using the EuroAirport has dropped dramatically. Airlines are adjusting their flight schedules on a daily basis and cancelling frequencies in line with falling demand or decisions taken by state authorities. In addition, passengers themselves are deciding not to fly.
Employees continue to have access to the airport. However, they should expect more stringent checks at the German and Swiss borders. Therefore, employees must carry with them proof of the need to cross the border; this can be obtained from the respective heads of service.