Effective today the Port Authority of New York New Jersey is limiting access to Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK airports to “ticketed passengers, airport employees, and other with a need to enter for airport business.” Clearing security is already limited, so these new restrictions focus on pre-security areas of the terminals.
In a release they say this new move is because of,
shifts in flight and passenger activity, changes in the airports’ operational footprints, security, cleaning and maintenance protocols, and social distancing directives
In other words, the justification is something of a kitchen sink. People entering a terminal may be asked to provide documentation such as a boarding pass or airport ID card, though whether to require this of any particular person appears to be entirely at the discretion of Port Authority Police.
Yahoo News’ Ethan Klapper asks ‘why now’ especially as the New York area is preparing to open up rather than go into lockdown.
Certainly the airports have been mostly deserted, and there can’t possibly be hordes of people just loitering landside at these various terminals creating a health hazard.
Giving police discretion to kick people out of the airport based on lack of I.D. doesn’t mean that the median passenger should expect to be confronted or hassled. This does seem like a new tool to evict homeless people, however.