Whether you’re an essential worker who has kept our country going since the virus began or you’re heading back to work for the first time in a while, commuting to your job and staying safe amid the spread of the Coronavirus is a new challenge for just about everyone.
For those using public transportation or carpooling, the close proximity to others raises concerns about safety and the risk of infection - especially with the emerging Delta variant.
Here are some suggestions on safety measures you can take when you’re heading to work.
Many cities and states have slowed or stopped their services over concerns that the virus could spread faster. Now that businesses are reopening and beginning to flourish, service schedules are slowly being restored with added social distancing measures and safety precautions.
Be sure to pay attention when taking public transportation as the rules may have changed. Look for and adhere to marked social distancing areas on train platforms, bus stations, and shelters. There also may be directional markers to organize and control foot traffic.
As the Delta variant is beginning to appear in cases around the country, experts recommend that people put masks back on while in public. Even if you have received the COVID vaccine, there may be a mask requirement for everyone taking public transportation regardless of vaccination status.
Because some individuals infected with COVID may be asymptomatic, wearing a mask or another form of face-covering while commuting is crucial to prevent accidentally spreading the virus to others.
Can’t wear a mask?
If you physically cannot wear a mask, as face coverings can be a hardship for people with respiratory issues, please consider a face shield. Consult your doctor to ensure that the face-covering you chose does not interfere with medical devices, like a cannula.
Make additional personal choices that keep you safe.
The CDC suggests people drive to work by themselves, but sometimes this is simply not an option. If you carpool or rideshare, here are some suggestions.
Mask up. If you're in a car with someone who is not in your immediate family or household - wear a mask.
If you are not in the same household as others in your rideshare, it’s better to ride with the same people on a regular basis if possible.
Limit the number of passengers to a maximum of two people per vehicle.
Inside the vehicle, avoid close contact with the driver by sitting in the back seat.
If you’re driving your own vehicle, clean and disinfect surfaces such as door handles, armrests, steering wheel, seat belts, and car seats after every ride.
Wash your hands immediately and throughout the day as frequently as possible, and try to avoid touching your face throughout the day.
When entering the workplace, wipe down your area with a disinfecting wipe or spray.
If you touch something that someone else has handled, sanitize or wash your hands following the interaction.
After washing your hands, it’s advised to use a paper towel or tissue to turn off the faucet. It’s also a good idea to skip the hand dryers; they can spread germs from people who didn’t wash their hands well enough.
Minimizing exposure to your family or others you live with is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Whenever you can, it’s a good idea to shower immediately after arriving home.
Change out of the clothes you wore to work. Place your clothes in a separate dirty clothes bag to wash later or put your clothes directly into the washing machine.
The new golden rule - and possibly the best piece of commuting advice? If you’re not feeling well, it is best to stay home. Stay safe and be well!
What do you think? Are you doing things differently with COVID-19? Share your experience in the comments below.