As various lockdown measures are being lifted across the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people are slowly rejoining the workforce while taking all the necessary precautions. In the post-lockdown world, one of the biggest challenges for people would be to safely commute to work.
During the lockdown phase, services of trains and buses were reduced or canceled all over the world. But now, with restrictions being eased, passenger demand is expected to increase as well.
While this was inevitable, there would be an undeniable potential risk of infection on trains and buses, depending on how crowded they are. As you might be already aware, coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales small droplets packed with the virus into the air. These droplets then can enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth, either directly or after touching an infected object.
Many governments have advised that avoiding public transportation is your best bet to keep yourself safe from the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at present. While many will be able to take a personal vehicle to work, ride a bicycle, or even walk, that is not an option for everyone. A majority of people around the world require various forms of public transport to get to their workplace.
So, how can those people keep themselves safe in such a scenario?
Guidelines to follow while availing public transport
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a set of guidelines to protect us when we are using public transportation. Let’s take a look at some of the safety tips they have shared for public transit.
Avoid touching things. Utilize no-touch payment methods, no-touch trash cans, and doors as much as you can. Carry a hand sanitizer with you always and wash your hands with it whenever you end up touching any frequently touched surfaces.
Practice physical distancing. If possible, try and travel during non-peak hours. Also, keep a distance of almost 6 feet (about 2 meters) between yourself and other people.
Your local transit authority might have put up physical distancing markers like floor decals or signs. Follow them properly.
If possible, skip a row of seats between yourself and other riders.
Practice hand hygiene. This might sound very basic right now but it is essential to make it into a habit when you travel. Carry a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol with you always. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you arrive at your destination.
Improve ventilation. If you are sharing a ride with someone, then it would be advisable to improve the ventilation of the vehicle. You can do this by opening windows or setting the air ventilation or air conditioning on non-recirculation mode.
Clean and disinfect surfaces. You should carry a disinfectant spray or disinfecting wipes to sanitize any frequently touched surfaces (handlebars, gears, braking handles, locks, etc.) before using them.
Keep yourself up-to-date. If you cannot avoid public transport in these times, then it is best to keep yourself up-to-date on any changes to services and procedures. This will be vital if you need any special assistance.
To keep your general commute as safe as possible, the CDC has also suggested some basic measures like wearing a cloth face covering, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and avoiding touching your face. Take a look at a few of their most essential safety tips for all types of transportation.
- When you aren’t able to maintain physical distance between yourself and others in commute, it is best to wear a cloth face covering.
- If you’re older or have a disability or an underlying health condition, then it would be better to limit your travel as much as possible right now.
- If you are at greater risk, but simply have to avail of public transport, then try and get a “transportation buddy" along with you on the ride. They might assist you with any special needs that you have.
You can follow the full set of guidelines shared by the CDC on their website.
Many governments have suggested that people should consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. But as public transit is unavoidable in a majority of the cases, it is up to you to strictly follow the basic guidelines for safety while commuting to and from work and keep yourself protected.