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Miami airport to close terminal as shutdown continues

MIAMI (AP) — Miami International Airport is closing a terminal this weekend because security screeners have been calling in sick at twice the airport’s normal rate as the federal government shutdown stretches toward a fourth week.

Friday marks the first day screeners will miss a paycheck, and airport spokesman Greg Chin said there’s a concern there won’t be enough workers to handle all 11 checkpoints during normal hours over the weekend.

Chin said Terminal G will close at 1 p.m. Saturday, reopen for flights Sunday morning and close again at 1 p.m. that day. The terminal serves United Airlines along with smaller carriers. Its closure means restaurants and shops that depend on departing flights also will close.

“We felt we had to make a decision before the weekend,” Chin said. “They’re erring on the side of caution.”

Chin told The Miami Herald that some passengers have complained about longer waits, but there’ve been no abnormal security delays.

The security line outside Terminal G was relatively calm mid-morning Friday where about 20 people waited in line as a single security agent manned the checkpoint.

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Furloughed workers protest amid government shutdown

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Union workers demonstrate in front of the White House against the government shutdown on January 10, 2019, in Washington, DC. – US President Donald Trump headed Thursday to the US-Mexico border to push his demand for a wall, a day after he walked out of negotiations with Democrats in a political crisis paralyzing the government. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Union members and Internal Revenue Service workers rally outside an IRS Service Center to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

IRS worker Christine Helquist joins a federal workers protest rally outside the Federal Building, Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. Payday will come Friday without any checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the government shutdown, forcing workers to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment benefits and take out loans to stay afloat. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

IRS worker Angela Gran, center, and others participate in a federal workers protest rally outside the Federal Building, Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. Payday will come Friday without any checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the government shutdown, forcing workers to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment benefits and take out loans to stay afloat. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Cheryl Monroe, right, a Food and Drug Administration employee, and Bertrice Sanders, a Social Security Administration employee, rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Government workers rally against the partial government shutdown at Federal Plaza, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Chicago. The partial government shutdown continues to drag on with hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job or working without pay as the border wall fight persists. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

People gather during a federal workers protest rally at the Federal Building Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

People gather during a federal workers protest rally at the Federal Building Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Furloughed TSA worker Marae Persson shows participates in a federal workers protest rally at the Federal Building Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Furloughed National Park Service ranger Kathryn Gilson, center, listens as fellow furloughed ranger Sean Ghazala, left, speaks to the media, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, during a press conference and rally at Staten Island’s La Colmena Center in New York. Ghazala is based at Manhattan’s African Burial Ground, and Gilson works at Gateway National Recreation Area, a national park encompassing wetlands surrounding New York city and parts of New Jersey’s coastline. Gilson says she is home “bouncing off the walls” and worrying about paying her bills and student loan. Staten Island is a largely Republican borough of New York city, but Democrat Max Rose recently defeated his Republican opponent in the 2018 congressional elections. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

People rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Union members and other federal employees protest the government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Union members protest the government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Union members and other federal employees stop in front of the White House in Washington during a rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. . (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A demonstrator holds a ‘Stop The Shutdown’ sign during a rally with union members and federal employees to end the partial government shutdown outside the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. The partial government shutdown entered its 20th day today as its impact is more widely felt with about 800,000 federal workers who will miss their paychecks on Friday. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Union workers demonstrate in front of the White House against the government shutdown on January 10, 2019, in Washington, DC. – US President Donald Trump headed Thursday to the US-Mexico border to push his demand for a wall, a day after he walked out of negotiations with Democrats in a political crisis paralyzing the government. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

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Jorge Enrique stood in line with his family as they waited to board a flight home to Mexico.

He felt bad for passengers flying this weekend who could be inconvenienced when the terminal closes. He said he was more concerned about the hassle than potential security risks.

“It sucks because if I had a flight arranged for that time … it’s gonna really impact my travel plans,” said the 35-year-old who was vacationing in Florida with his wife and son.

Terminal G is the slowest concourse at the airport, with about 12 planes a day flying out after 1 p.m. That’s about 3 percent of the roughly 450 flights that depart each day. Terminal G’s flights will be diverted to other terminals this weekend.

But Chin said that if the shutdown continues and additional screeners don’t show up for work, the airport could be forced to close a security checkpoint at terminals that have multiple entry points, such as Concourse J or Concourse D.

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