Using public transport during a pandemic has changed from simply getting to your destination, to now getting there safely without risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. During the pandemic, public transport usage initially plummeted, but has been on the rise again as more people make their way back to work. A decrease in public transport might be seen again with rumblings of the third wave. The question is still then, how you keep yourself as safe as possible when using different forms of transport.
Obvious things like social distancing, mask wearing, and avoiding peak hours certainly do help, but here are a few more tricks to ensure you’re as safe as can be.
Make sure the vehicle is well ventilated
With a respiratory disease like Covid-19, the more people breathing, talking, and coughing in a confined space, the greater the chance of spreading the virus.
If you are on public transport, ensure that it is well ventilated – the more open windows the better! Good airflow often forces the contaminated droplets to the ground, reducing the risk of them entering your nose or mouth. It is essential to wear masks above the mouth and nose at all times while travelling, as well as ensuring regular hand sanitation to reduce the risk of infection.
Avoid all travel if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
People who are have COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19, or who have recently had a close contact with a person with COVID-19 should not use any transportation that may put them in close contact with others.
When using transportation services for medical needs, one should call ahead to notify the service of any illness so they can take precautions to protect the driver and other staff. No other passengers should share the vehicle.
Where should you sit?
In a pandemic, the more space you can have from others, the better. Always try to sit as far away from people as possible, particularly on long journeys when the risk of infection is increased.
It’s not always possible to use private transport, but when you follow the advice above, you’ll give yourself the best chance at reducing your risk of infection.
Here are some additional tips:
Before traveling, pack sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (in case you are unable to wash your hands at your destination).
Bring your mask to wear at all times — especially while travelling, waiting at a rest stop, or driving in a vehicle with people outside your household. Bring extra masks in case your mask gets wet or dirty and a plastic bag that can be sealed to store wet or dirty masks.
Avoid eating or drinking on public transport. Refrain from eating or drinking on public transit to ensure mask use at all times. Plan to eat and drink outside of the vehicle when you are not near other people. If you would like to eat or drink after exiting the public transportation, be sure to find a space at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) away from other people and wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol before eating or drinking and before removing your mask or touching your face.