Coronavirus: Facts Not Fears

Coronavirus: Facts Not Fears

The American Bus Association continues to work with a host of federal and tourism partners including the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration, American Public Transportation Association, US Travel Association and others to keep our members updated with the most current information regarding the current situation related to infectious diseases impacts and methods to limit its spread. 

On this page you will find helpful information on:

Take Action

ABA Actions

Be Prepared

Where is It?

How to Communicate with Customers

Guide for Travelers for Safe Travel

How to Keep Your Facilities and Buses Clean

Resources from Government Agencies

Know the Difference between Coronavirus, Flu and Allergies

To follow federal action on the coronavirus, visit out Government Affairs' Coronavirus: Federal Action page.

Coronavirus Industry Questions Answered

Google launches COVID-19 website

List of States with Executive Stay At Home Orders

TAKE ACTION!

Every member of Congress, House of Representatives and Senate, needs to hear your voice and how you and your company have been impacted.

ABA developed a template letter that you can use to email your Representatives:

Click here for a Motorcoach Operator template letter.

You can find your Representatives contact details here.

You can find your Senator’s contact details here.

PLEASE FILL OUT THIS SHORT SURVEY ON THE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS ON YOUR BUSINESS: Take Survey

ABA Actions

ABA is working closely with our industry counterparts around the United States and Canada. To follow what the OMCA is doing for our Canadian colleagues, click here.

Be Prepared

Taking Care of Your Business

There are steps that companies can take to minimize the risk to employees and customers. Every company is encouraged to scale these actions for their system. Specific steps include:

  • Be Proactive: Contact your insurance company, attorneys, vendors and banks to keep lines of communications open;
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts;
  • Review all contracts. What clauses do you have written into contracts about these types of events?
  • Update your company's emergency preparedness plan to include pandemic preparedness and response plans. Review the plan and conduct employee training.
  • Update your company's Standard Operation Procedures for cleaning and disinfecting buses, stations and facilities. Here is a list of approved Cleaning Chemicals from the EPA;
  • Coordinate with your local governmental jurisdiction on their emergency preparedness plans.
  • Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
  • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
  • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Provide information to customers and through your media platforms on the steps you are taking to minimize the risk to passengers. 

Taking Care of Your Employees

  • Protecting workers is our number one priority. ABA encourages companies to reivew OSHA's Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
  • Educate and train employees about proper hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and social distancing techniques;
  • ​Develop work practices and controls to provide additional protection to employees and customers, such as the proper selection, use and disposal of personal protective equipment;
  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
    • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with state laws and public health guidance, and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Separate sick employees:
    • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Where is It?

The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University has developed a map that shows where cases in the United States and other parts of the world are being reported. The page is updated regularly at noon on Monday - Friday. See map here.

How to Communicate with Passengers about Coronavirus

As the news focuses more and more on reported cases around the world and within the United States, your customers may call with questions about their trips and how safe they are continuing their plans. You should communicate with customers that your  company takes the health and safety of your passengers seriously. That you are reacting to the Coronavirus with the same precautions and policies adopted during the regular flu season in accordance with CDC recommendations, such as cleaning and sanitizing buses regularly. Remind passengers to avoid close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed/unsanitized hands, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and areas and understand the symptoms of the flu. If anyone is experiencing any symptoms, they should not take ttheir trip as planned, but instead seek medical attention. Remind them that your company will continue to monitor the areas your buses visit. It is not anyone's intention to put any of our millions of passengers at risk.

A Guide for Communicating Health Travel Practices for Travelers

Travelers are encouraged to always exercise healthy travel habits when traveling. During seasons with a higher risk of illness, like U.S. flu season, travelers should adhere even more strongly to healthy travel practices.

Healthy Travel Practices

  • Wash hands often
  • Cough into your elbow and sneeze into a tissue
  • Consult with a doctor before traveling when sick
  • Stay up-to-date on vaccinations
  • Avoid contact with people who are already sick
  • Avoid contact with animals while traveling
  • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Be aware of latest travel advisories from the Centers of Disease

COVID-19 "Don'ts"

  • Go to work or crowded areas when sick
  • Touch your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Use face masks (the CDC does not recommend face masks for general U.S. public to prevent the spread of COVID-19)
  • Panic. Get the facts and follow guidance from government sources and health professionals

How to Keep Your Facilities and Buses Clean

Help protect the public health from diseases like the Coronavirus and influenza by following a few personal hygiene best practices and regularly cleaning your operating environment. It is recommended that vehicles be cleaned and sanitized frequently during these periods of heightened transmission, especially when passengers or operators demonstrate symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Clean frequently touched objects with soap and water and/or alcohol-based cleaners.

These surfaces include:

  • Handrails for entering and exiting the vehicle
  • Arm Rests
  • Seatbelts (if applicable)
  • Driver Steering Wheel
  • Dash Area
  • Head Rests
  • Windowsills
  • Interior Luggage Racks/Hand holds
  • Exterior Luggage Bay Handles
  • Restroom Door Handles
  • Restroom Handrails

The vehicle should be sprayed when cleaning with Lysol disinfectant spray or similar product. Have Sani-wipes available on the vehicle for operators and passenger’s usage.

How the Coronavirus is Spread
The CDC states that coronaviruses and influenza are most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

How to help protect from the Coronavirus and Influenza
The best way to protect oneself is avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC always recommends simple everyday preventative steps to help prevent the spread of a respiratory virus, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Get a flu shot
  • Understand the symptoms of the flu (elevated fever, body aches, headaches, nausea, etc.)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue away.    

The CDC has said Americans shouldn’t rely on masks to prevent the contraction of the coronavirus. However, masks can be used to help prevent the spread of the disease by infected persons.

For additional updates, you can visit: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/index.html">https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html and https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/index.html.  

Some Cleaning Products Used by Other Operators

Commercial Ozone Air Purifiers 

Bailey Trailways in Spring Grove, Pa., has added a disinfecting department to his business. Read more about it here

MonoFoil M ODOR Eliminator & Protectant

Misty Biodet ND32 (try distributors Cintas or Unifirst for purchasing)

Arrow Stage Lines is renting out their The EPA-Registered CURIS Decontamination System

Resources and Latest News from Government Agencies

Know the Difference between Coronavirus, the Flu and Allergies

FACT: DID YOU KNOW, THAT MORE THAN 15,000 PEOPLE DIE ANNUALLY IN THE UNITED STATES FROM INFLUENZA?