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caption: In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, a biplane hangs from the ceiling of the Gina Marie Lindsey Arrivals Hall at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash.
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In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, a biplane hangs from the ceiling of the Gina Marie Lindsey Arrivals Hall at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

5 things to know about SeaTac Airport now

SeaTac airport is the eighth busiest airport in the U.S. Except it's not actually busy right now.

The Port of Seattle briefed reporters on the state of the airport and of air travel now. Here's what we learned:

  1. Expect to be able to do social distancing everywhere, including in TSA security lines. Airport officials say there is no crowding anywhere because fewer planes are coming in with many fewer passengers. Airport use has declined dramatically, with the Port of Seattle counting only “16,000 or 17,000” passengers at checkpoints. instead of the 50,000.
  2. Expect to see hand sanitizer everywhere. The Port of Seattle says it has updated airport maps with locations of sanitizing stations. Early on, it added additional measures, such as full cleanings of employee shuttle buses, to protect the 19,000 workers who keep SeaTac running.
  3. If you’re sick, don’t travel. If you have to travel, you’ll find fewer restaurants open at SeaTac: 10 have closed so far.
  4. If you have to travel, you can bring extra hand-sanitizer. TSA says the allowed size has gone up to 12 ounces.
  5. You might not be able to get there from here: Successive travel bans have placed Shanghai, Beijing, Europe and Ireland out of reach from Sea-Tac. That leaves South Korea, London and Iceland, at least.

And one more thing: airport expansion is continuing. Port commissioner Peter Steinbrueck called the current emergency "unprecedented and extreme," but said it will come to an end -- and on the other side will be more regional growth and flying demand.