Eerie video shows half-empty airports in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Friday afternoon, Terminal C at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) was empty.

The parking garage was wide open and there was a row of planes sitting on the tarmac. Most airlines have cut many domestic flights, and there are only a few international flights daily.

The Houston Airport System (HAS) said traffic is down about 75% overall in response to the coronavirus.

On Thursday, 8,000 passengers flew in and out of Houston's airports, which include IAH, Hobby and Ellington, the HAS reported. That number is normally around 150,000 daily.

People on social media were surprised that people were still flying. Airport spokesman Augusto Bernal said they included people who were doing essential business and those returning home due to travel bans.

Because of the decrease in traffic, the airports have closed bathrooms and shifted employees. The HAS has not laid off anyone yet, but many workers are employed by contractors. TSA has closed some security checkpoints.

"We are seeing a noticeable drop in passengers, and we understand people are following the Stay At Home - Work Safe order. So we'll be here operating. The airports will continue to operate at this time," Bernal said.

Starting Saturday, March 28, at 12 p.m., Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will be deployed to airports.

The troopers will be at gates to issue the governor's executive order that mandates a 14-day self-quarantine for passengers arriving from New Orleans, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Passengers will have to fill out a form, indicating where they will be staying during quarantine and hand it back to the officer.

Governor Greg Abbott says troopers will follow-up with a visit during their 14-day quarantine. Anyone caught violating the order could face fines or jail time, Abbott said.

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