EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With health experts recommending Borderland residents not to travel for the holidays, there are some that don’t have a choice. One native El Pasoan who is a flight attendant is trying to stay healthy while working during the pandemic.
Enrique Martinez is currently based out of Las Vegas, but says he flies to El Paso for work regularly. Martinez said he is being more cautious as virus cases surge, but added that, as a flight attendant, he has always been cautious and taken his health seriously.
“You hear flight attendants taking extra vitamins or supplements to boost their immune systems because you know we’re stuck in that metal tube,” he said.
Martinez and his fiancé are both from El Paso and are both flight attendants.
“I’ve been working continuously throughout all this pandemic stuff that’s going on and, yeah, I mean you have a little bit of nerves of maybe bringing something home,” Martinez said.
Martinez and his fiancé just had their first child together this month. Martinez told KTSM 9 News he’s taking some time off from work but says he will continue his routine to keep his family healthy once he returns.
“When I get home, I’ll shower, I’ll put my uniform in the hamper — things like that. And then once I shower and all that, then we’ll interact more with my fiancé and now my child,” he said.
He said that even though COVID-19 cases are high in the Borderland, he approaches every flight with the same amount of caution.
“For me, myself personally, I’ve just kind of treated it, kind of treat everybody as high risk just so it’s a level playing field for everybody, whether we’re going to a low-risk city or a high-risk city,” he said.
Martinez has been working less in the past few months due to the reduced number of flights and said when he’s flown into the El Paso International Airport, it hasn’t been very busy.
The City of El Paso said that’s true especially this holiday season.
“Compared to the previous years, we are definitely not seeing anywhere near the same amount of passengers, we are expecting to see about 45 percent of the passengers from last year,” said Tammy Fonce, lead public affairs coordinator for the City of El Paso.
Martinez said overall passengers try to keep their distance and wear masks while aboard the aircraft. The City of El Paso explained that social distancing is everyone’s own responsibility while in the airport, but said it is being enforced.
“We are taking a collaborative approach when it comes to enforcement — we are asking and reminding passengers through messaging, signage and indicators like decals on the floors and seats. We are also placing facemask kits at the checkpoint free for anyone who may need one,” said Fonce.