Knowing how to handle group travel during COVID is vital for protecting your passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting them from one location to the next safely includes preventing them from catching a dangerous disease.

Today, we’re going to go over the best practices for both one-time events and routine travel between destinations. Of course, you should always get the latest practices and guidelines from your local authorities, so make sure you stay up-to-date on any changes that might impact your trip.

Passenger List Planning

Knowing how to handle group travel during COVID means taking a few extra steps during your planning. You likely have a passenger list as part of your normal preparations, but now you need to go further than usual.

You need to determine:

  • Who is high risk?
  • Has anyone been recently infected?
  • Has anyone had recent contact with COVID-positive people?
  • Is anyone showing symptoms?

Based on what you’ve determined, you might need to bar some people from getting on the bus. Others, such as those who are high risk, may need extra space as an added precaution. Be prepared to rent a larger vehicle if necessary.

Overall, you’ll need to set your own rules for testing requirements. For example, if someone had COVID-19 and is now saying that they’ve recovered, have they tested negative since their recovery? It’s your responsibility to decide the rules. You need to keep in mind the safety of everyone on the trip, and that might mean denying one passenger a ride to ensure the safety of everyone else.

Vehicle Sanitization

One of the best things you can do for COVID group transportation is to thoroughly sanitize the entire vehicle before and after every trip. It’s a part of ensuring a safe trip for everyone. It might take extra time, but it’s vital to keep everyone in good health.

The more surfaces you clean, the better. You need to make sure that you pay special attention to these areas, or any others that are receive routine contact from passengers:

  • Seats
  • Armrests
  • Electronics
  • Windows
  • Grab rails
  • Driver’s area

In addition to keeping things sanitized, keep hand sanitizer readily available for passengers and the driver. Not only does this stop the spread of the virus, but it also keeps people’s minds at ease knowing that you’ve got them covered. You may even want to consider installing cough and sneeze shields for ongoing driver protection. Doing this is vital if you’re going to be using the same vehicle for repeated trips.

Passenger Behavior During COVID Group Transportation

bus passenger using hand sanitizer

How should your passengers handle the trip? They certainly have some responsibilities to keep things safe for everyone.

At a bare minimum, everyone should be wearing masks. You can even bring backups in case someone forgets a mask or breaks their mask.

Make it clear to everyone that you expect them to stay seated throughout the journey. Not only is this good general safety advice, but it’ll help to prevent the spread of the virus.

If someone needs to cough or sneeze, they should cover up with their elbow. Even though they’re wearing a mask already, this type of coughing will help keep the virus from spreading.

Everyone should avoid touching their faces for the duration of the trip. Additionally, all passengers should be instructed to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands throughout the trip.

Limit Unnecessary Stops

Every time you stop, you risk bringing the virus back on board with your group. There are a few ways to limit unnecessary stops for your journey.

One of the easiest changes you can make is to bring your own food and drinks or instruct passengers to do the same. You should also instruct passengers to use the restroom before you depart to reduce stops.

Anytime there is a stop and someone gets off the vehicle, they should apply hand sanitizer before they get back into the vehicle.

Depending on your trip length, you might need to refuel to reach your destination. If so, mandate that only the driver gets out and refuels. Passengers often like to go buy snacks, but this time, it needs to be skipped.

Extra Space for Group Travel During COVID

The more space you can provide, the better. Consider using a larger vehicle than you might under normal circumstances to provide more interior space.

Passengers should be seated at least six feet apart. This will stop the virus from spreading should someone unknowingly carry it on board.

If you can, consider using every other seating row. Providing the most space between passengers is the ultimate goal. Considering what’s at stake, it might be worth obtaining a larger vehicle to allow you to space people apart as much as you can.

Think about splitting the journey into multiple groups and making more than one trip or having more than one vehicle. If you have multiple vehicles on the same trip, make sure that all the drivers involved are aware of the rules that you’ve established to keep everyone safe.

large vehicle interior allows social distancing

Know the Latest COVID Rules

As we learn more about the virus and take more steps to contain it, the rules may change. There is a wide range of rules that may apply to your group, depending on your city and state. You should check your local government’s website about COVID-19 guidelines prior to your trip to see if anything has changed.

If you’re going from city to city, make sure to look at the guidelines for both destinations. Some areas require travelers to quarantine for days or weeks upon entry. If you’re visiting one of these areas, you should make sure all passengers are aware of this requirement before the journey starts.

Be ready to make last-minute changes as needed to keep everyone safe. If you discover a new rule or regulation, make adjustments to accommodate it.

Stay Safe During Your Journey

Make sure to check the CDC website for COVID-19 guidelines before your trip begins. You might need to adjust or even cancel your trip to keep everyone safe. You can also contact Master’s Transportation for additional information on ways to keep you and your passengers protected.