CHICAGO - Thousands of people waited hours in line at O'Hare Airport customs on Saturday, apparently because of new coronavirus screening procedures, prompting the governor of Illinois to tweet, "the federal government needs to get its s@#t together. NOW."
Photos from inside the airport showed massive backups in the Federal Inspection Services facility.
Many people waiting in the line expressed dismay at being packed in with visitors from other countries, potentially sick ones, at a time when people are being told not to stand closer than six feet to anyone. The wait lasted anywhere from four to six hours, according to people in line sharing their experiences on Twitter.
"The federal government needs to get its s@#t together. NOW," wrote Gov. JB Pritzker on Twitter. "The crowds & lines O’Hare are unacceptable & need to be addressed immediately. @realDonaldTrump @VP since this is the only communication medium you pay attention to—you need to do something NOW. These crowds are waiting to get through customs which is under federal jurisdiction."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was also mincing no words when it came to this public health mess: "The reactionary, poorly planned travel ban has left thousands of travelers at ORD forced into even greater health risk.@realdonaldtrump and @CBP : no one has time for your incompetence. Fully staff our airport right now, and stop putting Americans in danger."
Late Saturday night, O'Hare officials said on their Twitter feed they were working with Chicago Police to distribute bottled water and snacks to travelers.
O'Hare also said that they have "strongly encouraged our federal partners to increase staffing to meet demand."