Carbajal, Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Fly Safe and Healthy Act

Establishes temperature checks at airports to prevent spread of COVID-19 and variants

Santa Barbara, CA – Last week, Congressman Carbajal led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing the Fly Safe and Healthy Act of 2021. This legislation would help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among air travelers by creating a pilot program to require temperature checks at TSA screenings.

“My own experience with COVID-19 underscores how easily this virus can spread, even when we take precautions. With more people returning to air travel, it is crucial to our public health that we work to make flying as safe as possible,” said Rep. Carbajal (CA-24). “In addition to enhanced vaccine deployment, temperature checks at airports are one way we can help curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants between states. This bill also puts consumers first by including built-in protections for travelers.”

"One of the most alarming observations of last year was how quickly COVID-19 was able to spread throughout the world. As our nation continues to recover and move forward, this legislation will help us study and understand how TSA checkpoints might play a role in slowing the rapid spread of future pandemics, as well as our continued fight against COVID-19,” said Rep. Norman (SC-05).


“Reopening America should be the top priority of our government. Making sure air travelers are healthy enough to fly is a common sense way to boost passenger confidence and jumpstart economic activity,” said Rep. Budd (NC-13). “I’d like to thank Reps. Norman and Carbajal for joining me on this legislation.”

Background on the Fly Safe and Healthy Act of 2020: 

  • Requires the Transportation Security Administration to establish a pilot program to test temperature screening technology within 30 days. The 120-day pilot would be conducted at TSA checkpoints. 
  • The program includes built-in protections for consumers: 
    • Requires the TSA Administrator to protect travelers’ personal and medical privacy, exempt individuals who may have a fever unrelated to COVID-19, and accommodate individuals with disabilities or who observe certain religious practices.
  • The Administrator would have the flexibility to test various technologies and would be required to ensure Transportation Security Officers are properly trained on how to use the technology and follow program procedures.
  • No later than 90 days after the pilot program concludes, TSA would be required to issue a policy to deploy the program more broadly at airports throughout the United States until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  
  • TSA would be permitted to partner with universities or academic institutions, national laboratories, public health authorities, or private entities to develop, evaluate, or improve technology for the purpose of detecting fevers or for conducting secondary screenings.  
  • The Secretary of Transportation would be required to issue a rule requiring airlines to notify passengers that they will be subject to temperature screening and to encourage passengers to not come to the airport if they have a fever. 

The text of the bill is available here

Answers to frequently asked questions about the bill are available here.

Rep. Salud Carbajal serves as the Vice-Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and represents California’s 24th congressional district, which encompasses Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County.


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