New Store At Salt Lake Airport Offers COVID-19 Tests

Jan 20, 2021, 6:06 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new store opened inside Salt Lake City International Airport. Instead of travel pillows and snacks, the new shop has been offering COVID-19 tests.

Several travel destinations have quarantine requirements for visitors, and many require a negative coronavirus test.

Hawaii has always been a top travel destination. That’s why, even with her mask on, you could tell Michaela Thomas was smiling. She was at the airport for a flight to the Aloha State.

“(I’m going) for two weeks… visiting my sister there,” she said.

Before visiting paradise, though, she had to sit in a chair and visit any place that took her mind off of her coronavirus test.

“They go pretty deep into your nose and swirl it around for 10 seconds so it’s a little painful,” said Thomas with a laugh.

Thomas was the first person in line at the new XpresCheck store at the airport Wednesday morning.

The store has been selling COVID-19 tests, and for Thomas, getting one meant she wouldn’t have to quarantine when she gets to Hawaii, if it comes back negative.

“If you don’t receive a negative test before you leave, you have to quarantine for 10 days,” she said. 

Rapid tests at XpresCheck only take about 15 minutes.

“I got one back home, but the results didn’t come in on time,” said Thomas, who lives in New York.

XpresCheck is from the same company that did XpresSpa massages and other spa treatments in airports all across the country.

Coronavirus forced them to close.

“We were deemed non-essential during the lockdown,” said XpresSpa Group CEO Scott Milford. 

He was at Salt Lake City International Airport for the store’s grand opening, and said the company decided to switch to COVID testing since many places require a negative test.

Salt Lake City was the seventh XpresCheck location.

Only Hawaii accepts the company’s tests, though more states and countries could in the future.

“We started this with the intention of trying to bring confidence back to the traveling public,” said Milford.

There is a cost if you want to get a COVID test at the store. The longer polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test has a cost of $75. XpresCheck will work with travelers to submit claims to insurance companies.

Those tests come back in two to four days.

However, if you decide to take the rapid COVID, it’s $200, and the company doesn’t offer any help with insurance.

“That is a point of care charge,” said Milford.

If you want to submit any paperwork to your insurance company for the rapid test, you will have to do it on your own and it’s a procedure many insurance companies do not cover.

The $200 price tag didn’t stop Texas resident Kalie Lewis from taking the rapid test.

She, too, was heading to Hawaii on the direct Delta Airlines flight out of Salt Lake, and felt it was worth the cost to avoid quarantine.

“It depends on how bad you want this vacation,” said Lewis. “We live in a new time now, so you have to put that in your budget to know you’re going to have to pay a little extra to go anywhere.”

Even though COVID testing is generally free at hospitals, many people will look at XpresCheck and decide the price is worth it for convenience and time savings.

“Now I can go have fun and be able to walk up to the airport and just have my test readily available – rather than just saying, ‘Hey, I’ll quarantine for 10 days and then missing out on an entire vacation,’” said Lewis.

Especially when it’s Hawaii.

“It’s a huge sense of relief,” said Thomas. “It’s great to have this here.”

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