- Airport mini-spa company XpresSpa will launch a pilot program offering COVID-19 testing at J FK Airport in New York .
- The company said it's working with other airports to convert spa locations into testing centers.
- Companies are scrambling to develop health screening solutions for airports , stadiums, and businesses as lockdowns are lifted during the pandemic . Companies with existing airport infrastructure have an advantage.
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XpresSpa can be a handy stop at the airport if you need to pick up a neck pillow, a pair of earplugs for a red-eye, or if you want 15 minutes in a massage chair.
Soon, it will have something else to offer: a COVID-19 test.
XpresSpa Group announced Friday that it would begin a pilot test of providing COVID-19 tests at JFK International Airport in New York. The company said it would launch a new brand XpresCheck which would operate under a subsidiary XpresTest.
The initial pilot will take place in JFK's Terminal 4, which saw 21.8 million passengers in 2018, making it among the nation's busiest.
The company said that it would build a "new modular constructed testing facility within the terminal," rather than using its spa location all of the company's airport locations have been temporarily closed because of the pandemic.
Initially, tests will be available for airline and airport workers and contractors, as well as TSA officers and Customs and Border Patrol agents.
As governments, public health officials, and airline executives explore options for testing workers and passengers, part of a larger effort to bring travel demand back without risking further spreading the disease, companies have been scrambling to find ways to lever ege their existing airport infrastructure.
CLEAR, a biometric identification company that operates at numerous US airports and event venues, has also indicated that it was moving into the health screening arena. The company is introducing a product to link personal health information to verified IDs, allowing businesses to efficiently screen employees for COVID-19 before they return to workplaces.
CLEAR has not announced any imminent plans to bring the program to airports, although its existing framework and cooperation with the TSA at airport screening checkpoints would make it a likely candidate.
The TSA is also widely expected to begin performing temperature checks on passengers at airports.
XpresSpa said it was working with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which manages the region's airports to expand the pilot to additional locations, and that it was exploring converting airport spa shops to test sites in other regions.
It was not immediately clear whether the testing would be for active virus, or for antibodies from past infections, nor whether rapid results would be available.
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