How to travel in Europe in the era of coronavirus
The European Commission unveiled a series of measures aimed at ensuring people can start travelling safely across the continent again as governments try to revive tourism and airline industries brought to a halt by the coronavirus.
Below are the general guidelines for air, rail, water and road travel and steps for each mode of transport:
* Passengers will be encouraged to buy tickets, reserve seats and check in online.
* Passengers should wear face masks, especially where physical distancing measures cannot be fully observed at all times. These do not need to be medical masks.
* Physical distancing should be ensured at security checks and luggage drop-off and collection.
* Dedicated lanes should be set up to keep passenger flows separate at ports, airports, train stations, bus stops, ferry landings and urban public transport hubs.
* Hubs should remove facilities that encourage crowding, such as benches, tables or, re-arrange them to ensure distancing.
* Fewer passengers may be allowed on board buses, trains or ferries, and passengers who are not from the same household may be seated apart. (Photo: Pixabay)
* Transport staff should have adequate protective equipment.
* Sanitising/disinfecting gel should be available and vehicles cleaned and disinfected regularly.
* Food, drinks and other goods may no longer be on sale on board.
* Duty-free shops and other travel retailers should control passenger movement with floor markers and restrict customer numbers, boost cleaning and set up barriers at till points among other measures.
* Contact tracing and warning measures with the use of mobile apps could be used on a voluntary basis. Such apps should be able to function across borders. (Photo: Reuters)
BUS & COACH:
* Rear-door boarding and the use of windows for ventilation instead of air conditioning should be used.
* Seating should be organised where possible so that families sit together, while people not travelling together should be separated.
* In mini-buses, passengers should not be allowed to sit next to the driver unless physical separation is possible.
* If possible, passengers should handle the their own luggage.
* Frequency and capacity of trains should be increased if necessary to reduce passenger density.
* Rail operators should implement mandatory seat reservations on long-distance and regional trains.
* For short-distance trips, passengers should leave seats empty between them, except for passengers from the same household.
* Rail operators should use passenger counting systems, especially on commuter and suburban trains, to manage capacity.
* Passenger flow should be managed at stations and stops closed if adequate levels of public health cannot be ensured.
* Off-peak hour travel should be encouraged with incentives, such as adjusted pricing, or flexible working hours in the case of commuter trains, to avoid crowding.
* Doors should be opened at each stop either automatically or remotely by the driver. (Photo: Reuters)
Protocols will be outlined by regulators in the next few weeks and should include:
* Ventilation should be strengthened, with hospital-grade air filtering and vertical airflow.
* Movement needs to be reduced in the cabin, such as less cabin baggage, fewer interactions with the crew.
* Passenger flows should be managed with early arrival times at the airport; prioritising electronic/self-check-in; minimising contacts at baggage drop-offs, security and border control points, boarding, and during baggage collection.
* Pre-ordering of on-board services and meals should be, where possible, done at the time of booking. (Photo: Reuters)