Transportation Operations Guidelines
These guidelines are effective as updated on June 29, 2020 in St. Louis County. In accordance with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s (“DPH”) Second Amended Order for Business and Individual Guidelines for Social Distancing and Re-Opening dated June 26, 2020 and effective June 29, 2020 (the “Order”), these guidelines may be replaced or modified by DPH based on new scientific information and local information including the trajectory of influenza-like illnesses, cases of COVID-19, and any other information deemed relevant to protect public health in St. Louis County.
These guidelines place restrictions on service operations which engage in direct interactions with members of the public. Since the COVID-19 virus is easily transmitted in group settings, capacity limitations in these public places are necessary to limit the number of individuals in these public settings at any one time. These capacity limitations, in addition to face coverings, social distancing restrictions and disinfection processes, have proved to be significant in the mitigation of the transmission of COVIDS-19.
Adherence to these guidelines are for not only the protection of clients in these personal services settings, but also for the protection of employers and employees.
The requirements that together prevent the spread of infections by respiratory transmission (including COVID-19) include:
1. Social distancing – maintaining at least 6 feet between and among employees and clients.
2. Monitoring employee health – ensuring that your employees are in good health and displaying no symptoms while at work.
3. Using personal protective equipment (PPE) – a face cover must be worn by employees and clients.
4. Disinfecting and cleaning – wash and sanitize hand regularly and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
- Since transportation operators engage in direct interactions with members of the public, the Order requires such operators to comply to the capacity limitations to ensure social distancing in their operations by physically separating or creating distances of at least six feet between all occupants.
- Require bus passengers to enter and exit the bus through rear doors, while allowing exceptions for persons with disabilities.
- Close every other row of seats.
- Reduce maximum occupancy of buses and individual light rail vehicles and increase the number of buses and light rail vehicles on crowded routes, as appropriate.
- Provide physical guides to ensure that customers remain at least six feet apart while on vehicles and at transit stations and stops.
- For example, floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate where passengers should or should not sit or stand can be used to guide passengers.
- Close communal spaces, such as break rooms, if possible; otherwise, stagger use and clean and disinfect in between uses. Train employees and post signage to avoid congregating in any communal areas that must remain open.
Stations and transportation hubs
- Any ticket counters, informational booths, or desks where travelers interact directly with employees must be protected by physical barriers like plexiglass whenever possible. If not possible, travelers should be required to stand 6 feet from the employee and have as little physical interaction as possible.
- Kiosks or machines used to purchase tickets or check bags that require that the passenger touch the service must be sanitized every hour, while the facility is open.
- Furniture, benches, and other areas where seating is allowed should be rearranged to provide appropriate distancing of 6 feet to assist guests in maintaining social distancing. Public seating or waiting areas must be sanitized every 4 hours, while the facility is open.
- Upon arrival in any station or transportation hub, signage must be prevalent throughout the premises, reminding travelers not to use transportation if they are having symptoms of COVID-19, and to practice social distancing by standing at least six feet away from other groups of people not traveling with them, especially while standing in line or using elevators.
- No more than three people at a time are permitted to ride in an elevator together.
- Stations and transportation hubs must make regular announcements or reminders to travelers to follow social distancing protocols. This includes all announcements before boarding the vehicle or at the start of the trip itself. Travelers should be encouraged to be conscious of wait times and not linger in public areas longer than necessary.
- The station or transportation hub shall place hand sanitizer at key guest encounter points, such as entrance, front desk, elevator banks, seating areas, entrances to restaurants and snack bars, and guests should be advised to use these products regularly. Wipes should also be available for guests to sanitize items or seating before use.
- Restrooms must be cleaned and disinfected every 2 hours using EPA-recommended disinfectants, particularly high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, doorknobs, and light switches. Restrooms must be regularly stocked with supplies for handwashing, including soap and materials for drying hands or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. High touch areas should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
- In the event a line forms, operators must have a plan to ensure that waiting parties remain separated by 6 feet.
- Mark every 6 feet in distribution lines with chalk, tape, cement decals, etc.
- Riders who are 2 years of age and over must wear a face covering and avoid direct contact with others not traveling with them.
- Physical distancing must be maintained, as much as possible.
- Physical barriers between operators and travelers is required.
- Upon boarding a vehicle such as a bus or train, staff shall direct travelers to avoid contact with operators as much as possible. This includes using any rear or alternative entrances to the vehicle.
- All vehicles shall be restricted to maximum seating capacity that enables 6’ of separation between passengers.
- This may mean delays for travelers who have not purchased a ticket or been assigned a seat in advance.
- All vehicles must be regularly cleaned and disinfected before/after each trip or completion of route. Cleaning supplies for that day shall be provided to any operators or staff working on the vehicle.
- Rental locations for vehicles must obey social distancing guidelines and maintain minimum of 6 feet when waiting in line. In the event a line of customers forms, operators must have a plan to ensure that waiting parties remain separated by 6 feet. Mark every 6 feet in distribution lines with chalk, tape, cement decals, etc.
- Interactions with staff must be limited as much as possible upon pick up and returning of vehicles. Consider the use of plexiglass barriers at check-in counters.
- All vehicles must be thoroughly disinfected before/after every rental using EPA- certified cleaners.
- Staff handling or transporting vehicles to customers must wear a face covering when driving vehicles. Staff should wipe down areas touched in the vehicle before allowing the customer to enter the vehicle.
- Rental customers should wipe down common touch locations during the course of their rental.
- Drivers and riders must wear face coverings at all times.
- Opening windows when possible during rides is recommended to allow for increased air flow.
- Physical interaction shall be restricted between drivers and passengers as much as possible. This includes avoiding physical greeting such as handshakes and sitting in the front passenger seat.
- Shared rides are restricted between passengers that are not all from the same party.
- Surfaces and door handles shall be cleaned with disinfecting products between fares.
- Riders should wash hands thoroughly after leaving the vehicle.
- Sharing of items such as phone chargers, water, candy or other giveaways is not allowed.
Restaurants and food vendors
If a transportation operation has ancillary businesses, such as food or retail vendors, whose businesses or operations must comply with the DPH’s guidelines with respect to those businesses and operations, such as the Food Establishment and Bar Operating Guidelines and the Retail Operations Guidelines.
Payment and transactions
- All physical contact must be limited between employees, drivers, passengers and customers, as much as possible.
- Cash transactions or tips are not recommended in favor of adding a gratuity to credit card payments. If cash is transferred, the driver must wash his/her hands or apply hand sanitizer of 60% alcohol or greater after accepting the cash transaction.
- Practice contactless transfers by placing items down on a counter for the customer to pick up.
Promote healthy hygiene practices
- Enforce everyday preventive actions such as handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and use of a cloth face covering by employees when around others, as safety permits.
- Provide employees with appropriate equipment, including face coverings or supplies to make a face covering.
- Communicate with the public about the importance of hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and using cloth face coverings while using mass transportation, including posting signs in transit stations and vehicles on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, properly wash hands, promote everyday protective measures, and properly wear a face covering.
- Provide reasonable employee breaks throughout the day for handwashing.
- Provide adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors for transit operators, employees, and passengers in stations, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, tissues, no-touch trash cans, and face coverings.
Cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation
- If taking public transportation to work, employees must wear protective masks, practice social distancing, use hand sanitizer and avoid other commuters.
- Employees should always wash hands when arriving at and before leaving the worksite, using warm water (at least 100°F) and soap for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol may also be used when a wash station is not available.
- Using EPA-certified products, clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (for example, kiosks, digital interfaces such as touchscreens and fingerprint scanners, ticket machines, turnstiles, handrails, restroom surfaces, elevator buttons) at least every 2 hours.
- Clean, sanitize, and disinfect the operator area between operator shifts.
- Use touchless payment and no-touch trash cans and doors as much as possible, when available. Ask customers and employees to exchange cash or credit cards by placing in a receipt tray or on the counter rather than by hand and wipe any pens, counters or hard surfaces between each use or customer.
- Avoid using or sharing items that are not easily cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected, such as disposable transit maps.
- Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants.
- Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash and wash hands afterwards.
- Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods.
- Do not open windows and doors if they pose a safety risk to passengers or employees, or other vulnerable individuals.
- Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.
Monitoring employee health
- Upon arrival at work, employees must be masked, and employers must conduct health checks (e.g., temperature and symptom screening) of employees at the start of each shift. Conduct health checks safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations. Confidentiality should be respected.
- Employers may use examples of screening methods in CDC’s General Business FAQs as a guide.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, muscle aches, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
- Screening shall include 1) a temperature check if it can be performed with a touchless thermometer, 2) asking about the presence of new or worsened cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, fever, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, 3) asking if the employee has had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days and 4) asking if the employee has traveled outside the St. Louis area where social distancing was not practiced.
- Employees with a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or above, or who answer yes to any of the screening questions must not be allowed to enter the workplace. Employees who develop any symptoms of respiratory illness while at work must immediately be sent home.
- Employees with symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for additional guidance.
- If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the operator must work with DPH to ensure all employees and customers who can be identified as having had close contact while the employee was infectious are contacted. While awaiting formal investigation, compile a list of employees, customers, or other people known to be in close contact with the person diagnosed with COVID-19. Employees identified as having close contact must be immediately sent home or told not to come into work until the investigation has been conducted.
- If an employee develops any of the COVID-19 screening symptoms while at work, they must immediately be sent home. If they are unable to immediately leave while awaiting transportation, they must keep their face covering on and move as far away from other employees or customers as possible, always maintaining 6 feet of distance. Symptomatic employees must avoid public transportation on their way home if possible. If no other transportation is available, using a taxi or ride share service is preferable to buses or trains to minimize the number of people potentially exposed.
- Close off areas recently used by an employee or customer who has tested positive for COVID-19 and do not reuse them until after cleaning and disinfection. Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants.
- Covered employers and employees should be aware of the provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which allows for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons, such as for self-quarantining or seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms.
Maintain healthy operations
- Implement flexible sick leave and other flexible policies and practices, if feasible.
- Monitor absenteeism of employees and create a roster of trained back-up staff.
- Designate a staff person to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Employees and customers should know who this person is and how to contact them.
- Create and test communication systems for employees and customers for self-reporting of symptoms and notification of exposures and closures.
- Customer facing staff members shall be given training or verbal tools to address customers not complying with regulations or intentionally spreading germs. Travelers intentionally spreading germs or creating fear of the virus spread must be reported to management and/or authorities as appropriate.
- Employers shall have the same team members working the same shifts whenever possible. This allows for containment and contact tracing in case of contamination or an employee testing positive.
- If a guest displays signs of, or says they have symptoms suspicious for, COVID-19, they shall be asked not to use the transportation service if at all possible. If this is not possible, then the guest must wear a face covering and sit as far as possible away from others for the duration of the trip.
Adapted from STL Regional Business Recovery Initiative Transportation Operating Protocols