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Southwest Airlines cuts back on COVID-19 cleanings to speed up flight turnarounds

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Southwest Airlines is cutting back on cabin cleaning procedures that were instituted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The air carrier rolled out the enhanced cleaning program back in March.

Scaling it back will mean changes including no longer sanitizing seat belts between flights. The company says cleanings will now focus on a few items like tray tables and lavatories.

According to a memo sent to flight attendants, the move will reduce the time planes spend on the ground between flights. Deep overnight cleanings will continue.

Southwest says it will limit plane capacity through the end of October to allow for middle seats to remain empty.

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