Concerns escalate as coronavirus spreads and trips cancel
With the introduction of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and as the cold and flu season drags on, we are reminded of the importance of cleaning and disinfecting our buses and motorcoaches.
While there are no specific recommendations directed at the bus and motorcoach industry at this time, a brief look at our cousins, public transit and cruise ships, provides some helpful insight.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “the primary mode of COVID-19 virus transmission is believed to be through respiratory droplets that are spread from an infected person through coughing or sneezing to a susceptible close contact within about 6 feet. Therefore, widespread disinfection is unlikely to be effective.”
Still, the flu virus can survive on hard surfaces such as handrails for up to 48-hours. In an article first produced by CNN, Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said, “Disinfectant products that have been proven effective in protecting against the other human coronaviruses are thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus, too.”
For cruise ships, the CDC states, “…in addition to routine cleaning and disinfection strategies, ships may consider more frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces such as handrails, countertops, and doorknobs.”
The Metro in Washington, D.C. has activated a “pandemic task force” with increased cleaning and disinfecting of stations, buses and rail cars. The transit agency has ordered 25 percent more hospital-grade cleaning solution, disposable gloves and face masks.
The public transit has stepped up cleaning buses from weekly to focusing on high contact areas daily.
“We have consulted with CDC on cleaning frequency and they ‘took no exceptions’ with our current game plan,” commented a Metro spokesperson.
As previously mentioned, the flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48-hours. Cleaning products can also kill most, if not all flu virus, including products containing:
- hydrogen peroxide
- detergents (soap)
- iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics)
We recommend contacting your provider of cleaning chemicals to determine effectiveness against flu viruses.
Some commonsense approaches to consider:
- Maintain a sufficient supply of disinfectant for cleaners. Monitor supply for use and resupply. Review proper dilution according to manufacturer specification.
- Make sure there is an ample supply of hand sanitizer (65-95% alcohol) throughout the bus or motorcoach.
- Review cleaning procedures with cleaning staff for effectiveness and safety following Federal guidelines (29 CFR 1910.1030).
- Supply of disinfectant wipes (Clorox, Lysol, etc.)
- Tissues and plastic trash liners for proper disposal.
- Disposable gloves for drivers as well as cleaning staff.
- Advise charter and tour groups to encourage passengers who are ill to remain home.
- Discuss procedures with drivers and other staff including the importance of washing hands thoroughly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds multiple times daily.
- Discuss with drivers, procedures for handling passengers who become ill.
- Should customers express concerns, inform them of the specific steps your company has taken.
Hopefully, the flu season will pass soon as warmer weather approaches and authorities contain the spread of COVID-19.
Watch for official reports, particularly travel bans. We are hearing early reports of cancellations from international tours and government travel. Document cancellations and losses should economic injury disaster loans become a necessity.
Some websites to monitor: