Place loose items like your phone or wallet in your bag instead of security bins.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated March 12, 2020

The TSA is changing its messaging about security lines in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the TSA announced it will tell passengers to keep all personal items, including phones, keys, and wallets, inside their carry-on bags to avoid contamination on the security belt.

"Bins in use in the security checkpoint are like any other piece of public property and should be treated as such,” the TSA shared with Business Insider. “With hundreds of travelers coming through an airport security checkpoint each hour, the bins are a common use item.”

The government agency is also advising travelers to wash their hands before and after they go through the security line. It also noted, travelers can still bring hand sanitizer and individual wipes through security as well.

"As a reminder, travelers are permitted to bring individually-packaged alcohol or anti-bacterial wipes in carry-on or checked luggage,” the TSA said. “Jumbo containers of hand wipes are also allowed in carry-on or checked luggage. Liquid hand sanitizers also are permitted in carry-on luggage."

These new rules come on the heels of the TSA’s announcement that three agents tested positive for coronavirus at the San Jose International Airport.

Robert Alexander/Getty Images

“The officers are receiving medical care and all TSA employees they have come in contact with over the past 14 days are quarantined at home,” the TSA said in a statement. “Screening checkpoints remain open and the agency is working with the CDC, as well as the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to monitor the situation as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public. We will update as more information becomes available.”

Truly, the security line is where you really shouldn’t take any chances with your health.  According to a 2018 study in BMC Infectious Diseases, security checkpoint trays are the germiest part of any airport.

The researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare found that the security trays had the highest count of bacteria. However, the trays weren’t alone in being just a bit gross. The team noted other high-risk areas included cash registers at shops, staircase railings, countertops at security checkpoints, and more. Long story short, wash your hands. A lot. And invest in hand sanitizer right now if you need to travel.

Click here for the most recent updates on Coronavirus from Travel + Leisure.

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