Travelers flying in and out of Las Vegas can pick up a variety of items including forgotten toiletries and designer cupcakes at two dozen vending machines scattered throughout McCarran International Airport.
New to the lineup this week: three machines selling personal protective equipment including face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and wipes.
The airport said it is the first in the U.S. to install the machines from vending machine operator Prepango, though Tulsa International Airport has added masks to existing vending machines and many airports are selling masks, sanitizers and related goods in their retail stores. The machines were installed in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The move comes as all major U.S. airlines and an increasing number of airports now require passengers to wear masks or other face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic.
“With all the changes that have been happening rapidly … it’s not unthinkable that someone can show up at the airport and forget one of these items that are now almost essential for travel,” said Christine Crews, spokeswoman for McCarran.
She said sample prices include $4.25 for 50mL (about 1.7 ounces) of liquid hand sanitizer, a 10-pack of alcohol wipes for $5.25 and $7.50 for a pack of three disposable masks or $14.50 for a reusable cloth mask.
Some airlines have said they will provide face masks to passengers who don’t bring their own. Allegiant, which is big in Las Vegas and is headquartered there, is handing out kits that include a mask and wipes.
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Las Vegas, like airports around the country, has seen passenger traffic plummet since the coronavirus outbreak began earlier this year and travel came to a halt. In March alone, 2.3 million fewer passengers traveled through the airport, a 53% decline.
In 2019, more than 51 million passengers, a record, flew in and out of the gambling and entertainment hot spot.
The marquee attraction, casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, have been closed since mid-March. No reopening dates have been announced by casino operators, but most plan to gradually reopen their hotels, resorts and restaurants. MGM Resorts, which has a dozen properties on The Strip, has said passengers will be encouraged to wear masks.