SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The traffic control tower at the Santa Maria Airport was shut down earlier this week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
The tower shut down on Monday and is expected to remain closed until July 22.
The Santa Maria tower is normally open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. but unstaffed during these off hours.
While closed for the next week, the airport will continue operations the same way it would during the hours that the tower is unstaffed.
Santa Barbara TRACON assumes the tower’s airspace and clears pilots to land and take off, a Federal Aviation Administration representative said. Pilot's also communicate with each other while on the airfield and when close to the airport.
"We do not expect the tower closure will have any significant effects on traffic or operations," the FAA representative said Wednesday.
More than 100 air traffic facilities have had COVID cases. The impact nationwide has been mostly minimal due to backup and contingency plans, the FAA said.