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A Guide to Safe Transportation

As Canada begins to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown, malls, stores, public buildings, workspaces, and schools are beginning to reopen across the nation. Canadians are adjusting to a “new normal” and beginning to return to their busy lives. The return of our busy schedules also brings the need to get from place to place safely and efficiently. With the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and the risk of a second wave still prevalent, this can be a difficult task. This article provides a guide to safe transportation with information, precautions, and tips to help you ensure your travels amidst the pandemic are safe ones!


(Image is courtesy of Expedia Viewfinder)


Air travel


With the new school year quickly approaching, many students need to fly back to university and college campuses. Air travel may also be necessary for work placements or business trips. However, citizens are still advised to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. If you do find yourself getting on an airplane, here are some important points and safety precautions to keep in mind:

  • Avoid unnecessary contact in the airplane and airports. It is a good idea to wear disposable gloves when handling elevator buttons, door handles, and other surfaces where contamination may occur. Also, carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, and remember to practice hand hygiene by washing frequently.o a display of COVID-19 symptoms. For more details on the Government of Canada’s travel restrictions, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html#domestic

  • Be prepared with multiple face masks. Wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory on an airplane. You may also consider wearing a plastic face shield, safety goggles, or glasses to protect your eyes. 

  • Avoid unnecessary contact in the airplane and airports. It is a good idea to wear disposable gloves when handling elevator buttons, door handles, and other surfaces where contamination may occur. Furthermore, carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, and remember to practice hand hygiene by washing frequently.

  • Most airlines have implemented deep cleaning practices to disinfect the plane for passengers. As an extra precaution, you should wipe down your area with disinfectant wipes, especially your tray table. Once you are seated, try your best to stay put during the entire flight. This will minimize contact with other passengers and other areas of the plane.


Trains


If you are less concerned about travel time and hoping to avoid crowded airplanes and airports, you may choose to travel by train. Although this can be a safer alternative to flying, there are still many important precautions you must take to ensure a safe journey.

  • Train services have implemented COVID-19 preventative measures. Depending on the company, certain train services may require tickets to be purchased online, food/beverage service may be suspended, and baggage assistance may be unavailable or limited. Visit the website of the company you are travelling with beforehand to get an idea of what to expect.

  • When you're at the station, on the train, or in other public settings, ensure that you are complying with safety guidelines. This includes wearing a mask or face covering, practicing physical distancing, maintaining hand hygiene, and avoiding unnecessary contact with your surroundings.

  • If you are on a longer trip, be prepared with meals, beverages, and snacks. Even if dining services are available, options may be limited and overall, preparing your own food will save you a lot of hassle and minimize the risk of contamination.


City buses


Public transportation is an essential service for many. As we enter further stages of reopening, many will rely on city buses to get to and from school, work, the grocery store, the library, and more. Here are a few tips to ensure safety on city buses:

If possible, ride the bus during down-times to minimize exposure to other passengers.

  • If possible, ride the bus during down-times to minimize exposure to others passengers.

  • Follow the protective measures your city has put in place for public transit. For many city transits, wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory for all passengers. Other measures may include specified entrances and exits of the bus, blocked off seats, and specified ways of collecting bus fare. Visit your city’s website for more information on guidelines and preventive measures implemented.

  • Consider wearing disposable gloves or using hand sanitizer after coming into contact with surfaces on the bus. Handlebars, signal strips, and stop buttons are frequently touched surfaces, so it is very important to thoroughly wash your hands upon exiting the bus and arriving at your destination.

  • Maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet or 2 metres from others at all times.


Car/independent vehicles


Over shorter distances, driving may be the safest choice when it comes to exposure. In your own car or RV, you will not be subject to the contamination from people or surfaces as you would in an airport, airplane, train station, or train. However, there are still safety precautions you must consider when preparing for a road trip.

  • Planning out your route beforehand is extremely important.

  • Be prepared with food, water, toiletries, and safety supplies, including masks, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. By reducing the need to stop at a store or restaurant, you are minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • When stopping at a gas station or other public setting, ensure that you are following safety protocols by wearing a mask or face covering and maintaining physical distancing. In addition, wear gloves, use hand sanitizer, and wash your hands frequently to prevent contamination.


The bottom line


Regardless of the transportation method you use, it is crucial to follow all public health requirements and advisories. This includes wearing a mask or face covering in public settings at all times, practicing physical distancing, and washing your hands regularly. In the case of higher-risk travelling—such as air travel—you should immediately enter a 14-day quarantine period following your travel. These regulations may vary depending on the city or region you are in, so ensure that you are frequently checking government websites for information and updates. As the world begins to emerge from the lockdown, it is vital that we all do our part by following these guidelines in order to keep our communities safe and prevent a second wave of COVID-19 cases. Safe travels!


References

City of Hamilton. (2020, August 20). FAQ for Transit Customers. Retrieved August 30, 2020,

from https://www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/faq-transit-customers

Compton, N. (2020, July 17). How to take a long-haul train trip during the pandemic. Retrieved

August 30, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/tips/how-take-long-haul

train-trip-during-pandemic/

Wang, M. (2020, June 25). 7 Safety Tips for Flying During COVID-19 Summer. Retrieved

August 30, 2020, from https://www.nfcr.org/blog/safety-tips-flying-during-covid-19/



Article author: Victoria Huang

Article editor: Sherilyn Wen

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