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Coronavirus Update: Pandemic Linger Impact May Forever Change The Travel Industry

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The airline industry has gotten a $50 billion lifeline from the federal government, but even after the virus is contained, the pandemic will forever change airlines and the way we travel.

At San Francisco International Airport, you can look far and wide, and you're lucky to spot a single passenger.

"It's more than surreal, it's eerie," said SFO worker Morris Jackson.

TSA is screening about 96% fewer people than this time last year. The drop in demand has forced airlines to cut flights by up to 90 percent.

US carriers have raised billions in new funding and will receive payroll assistance from the government to stave off job cuts, until at least the end of September.

"If nothing changes between now and September 30th, we fear October 1st is going to be one of the darkest days for airline labor, since the dawn of commercial flight," said JP Morgan Chase aviation industry analyst Jamie Baker.

Emirates is the first airline in the world to test passengers for COVID-19 before boarding and is equipping employees with masks, face shields, gowns and gloves - hoping to calm flyer's fears.

PPE is something US flight crews have been calling for as well.

Delta Airlines said it estimates the recovery period could take up to three years.

There is certain to be pent-up demand to visit family and friends once travel bans are lifted. And many Bay Area residents may choose to vacation closer to home.

NewTree Ranch in Healdsburg is taking shelter-in-place reservations for Sonoma residents for month-long stays in May and June.

"A place like this really thrives in the current environment, you know being away from the public, and having your own food system, and having all the employees that live on the ranch, it just feels very safe here," said NewTree Ranch Founder and CEO Ed Newell.

For travelers looking for an alternative to big box hotels, starting in July, NewTree Ranch is offering shorter stays for one small group at a time on its 120 acre property. It's an eco-friendly retreat focused on sustainability and wellness.

"People are thinking about their immune systems and what they put in their bodies, and thinking about the pollution that's around them," said Newell. "And this is the type of place where you can get away from that and think clearly. "

NewTree Ranch also says it will go through a thorough two-day cleaning period prior to guest arrivals.

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