How to Safely Commute in the COVID-19 World
As more and more companies begin to reopen their offices, employees will be left to face the decision of how to safely make their way to and from work. For many, this task will look completely different than it did prior to the pandemic. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can safely commute in the COVID-19 world.
It may seem obvious, but the most reliable way to ensure that you’re not exposed to COVID-19 during your commute is to simply drive yourself. While many of us already partake in this form of commuting, it will be an adjustment for those who typically rely on public transportation or take short flights. You’ll have to calibrate your departure time to account for things like traffic, parking, and filling up your gas tank, however driving allows you to safely socially distance in a controlled environment. In fact, many companies who have not traditionally done so are looking into providing certain employees with company vehicles in order to allow them to safely conduct necessary business travel.
If You Have to Take Public Transportation, Follow These Tips
If you’re someone who has no other choice except to commute via public transportation, there are still things that you can do to mitigate your exposure risks.
Change Your Commute Time – “Try to adjust your work hours, if possible, to less busy times. And leave extra time for your commute in case you need to wait for a less crowded train or bus.” Says Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports
Clean Your Hands ASAP – “Wash your hands as soon as possible after leaving your bus or train. A thorough rub with a hand sanitizer makes sense,” Roberts continues. “Even more important is thorough hand-washing—20 seconds with soap and water. And avoid touching your face with your hands, to keep any germs you might have picked up from getting into your system.”
Keep Your Belongings Off of the Floor – Brittany Chang of Business Insider offers a tip for all of those who carry bags with them, “If you’re carrying a bag that may hit any surfaces on a train, bus, or subway, sanitize the bag. This includes the bottom of the bag, especially if it sits on the floor any time during your travels.”
Don’t Eat or Drink – It can be tempting to take out a snack during your commute, but don’t do it says infectious disease expert Avisheh Forouzesh, owner of Advanced Infectious Disease Medical. Forouzesh recommends to avoid eating or drinking while on public transit due to the higher chance that you will wind up touching your face, thus spreading germs.
How To Fly Safely
Choose Your Seat Wisely – One way that you can mitigate your risk while in the air is to choose your seat wisely. “People sitting on the aisle are more likely to be in contact with other passengers and crew members as they walk down the aisle or take something out of the overhead bins,” says Laurel Wamsley of NPR. “Those passengers by the window are also less likely to get up during the flight to use the bathroom or move around – activities that can also expose you to other people and surfaces.”
Counteract Low Humidity – Many people are unaware that the low cabin humidity in aircrafts can actually leave you vulnerable to illnesses. A recent article by FCM Travel Solutions offers some advice, “The low humidity in aircraft cabins dries out the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose and mouth, making them less effective in blocking out viruses. For this reason, some frequent flyers swear by nasal sprays to moisturize and clean out the nose. Also drink more water to compensate for the cabin dryness.”
Wipe Down Surfaces – This tip may seem like common sense, but many people could use the reminder. “While many airlines have announced an extra plane cleaning, there is no guarantee that every surface will get the full treatment,” FCM continues. “So carry antibacterial wipes to clean your seat armrest, tray table, seat-back pocket, air vent, seat touch screen, headrest and window blind.”