As Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has seen more passengers traveling through, more food and retail businesses opening up and more services coming back in recent weeks following a virtual shutdown during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, PHL was especially happy to see one member of its community open its doors again.
The Liberty USO, a decades long institution at PHL, was again welcoming Active Duty, Active Guard and Reserve Service Members along with their dependents to its facility in Terminal E on August 10 after a nearly five months long closure. During Phase One of the reopening, the USO is operating Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 AM – 4 PM; Tuesday is restricted to U.S. Coast Guard Recruit muster only. The center is located in the secure area of the airport.
“The Liberty USO occupies a special place in our airport community, proudly serving our military members and their families,” said Airport CEO Chellie Cameron. “They were dearly missed in the nearly five months they were closed. We are very happy to see the USO up and running again, welcoming our service members and offering them a safe and comfortable home away from home.”
“We are extremely happy and proud to be back serving our military heroes while they travel through PHL Airport,” said Brian Loughlin, Liberty USO Center Manager. “Our friendly staff and volunteers will provide to our guests during this phase of reopening, a hardy welcome, a nice place to relax while waiting to board their flights along with free Wi-Fi and computers During this phase, we will provide to our guests pre-packaged ‘grab and go’ snacks and meals, Wawa coffee and Wawa iced tea drinks.”
According to Loughlin, the USO will gradually expand services in three phases: Phase One has limited days and hours with limited menu, Phase Two includes expanded days and hours with a more expanded menu and Phase Three is a return to a full 24/7 operation.
To get the USO back up and running in the present environment, the center has implemented a variety of safety measures for its staff and guests:
- To maintain social distancing, the seating capacity is capped at 20 and facial masks must be worn while at the center
- Placed a COVID-19 Sneeze guard at the reception desk
- Added hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the facility
- Reduced the number of tables and chairs to maintain the required 6-foot social distancing requirements
- Amended food service menus to pre-packaged and “grab & go” snacks and meals
- Added stylus pens for use on the registration I-pads
- Volunteers have been trained in proper cleaning and sanitizing techniques
“We will continue to monitor airport foot traffic and will adjust as needed to best serve military service members. When we move to the next phase, we will advise through all social media platforms,” Loughlin noted.
For more information, guests can call the Liberty USO at 215-365-8889.