Tampa International Airport COVID-19 testing site to close operations
After serving nearly 21,000 passengers over the past seven months, Tampa International Airport’s COVID-19 testing site will close after Friday, May 7, due to a steady decrease in demand.
The BayCare-run site, which launched in October 2020 as the first in the country to offer both PCR and rapid antigen tests to all departing or arriving passengers, administered more than 260 daily tests at its peak during the holiday season. In recent weeks, the test numbers have been as few as 30 per day as more free and convenient COVID-19 testing – as well as vaccinations – have become more readily available throughout the Tampa Bay area.
“Launching a COVID-19 testing site has been one of TPA’s proudest accomplishments during the COVID-19 crisis and I’m happy to say we kept a lot of travelers safe by offering this service,” TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. “We still strongly encourage passengers to test at other sites before flying, wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines as we continue to try to reduce COVID-19 case numbers in Florida and around the world.”
During the holiday season, the TPA testing site served as a convenient alternative for travelers as the public faced hours-long waits at drive-up testing sites around the Tampa Bay area. Now, many health centers, drugstore pharmacies and state or county-run sites offer free testing, often with no appointment necessary and no lines.