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Bus Operators and Transit Authorities - COVID-19 Guidance

COVID-19 Guidance for Bus Operators and Transit Authorities

Protecting Against COVID-19

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly recommends that bus operators and transit authorities are aware of the following guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus which is spread person-to-person. People ill with it usually have fever, cough or shortness of breath. It is spread:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • By touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

The virus can be spread by people who appear to be well before they develop symptoms or by people who carry the virus and never become ill.

For bus operators, the most common ways to be exposed to COVID-19 at work are by having close contact with a passenger or coming in contact with a surface touched by a person with COVID-19.

For Bus Operators

  • Limit close contact with passengers and others by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet, as much as possible.
  • Wear a face covering at all times as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Have passengers enter and exit the bus through rear entry doors whenever possible.
  • Passengers are strongly encouraged to wear face covering per CDC guidance
  • Keep passengers from standing or sitting within 6 feet of the driver.
  • Avoid touching surfaces often touched by bus passengers.
  • Avoid handling money; if cash is necessary, drivers should wear disposable gloves and wash hands/use sanitizer after removing gloves.
  • Use gloves if required to touch surfaces contaminated by body fluids.
  • Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, including surfaces in the driver cockpit commonly touched by the operator; use approved disinfectants and wear disposable gloves while cleaning.
  • Wash hands your often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Important times to clean your hands:
    • At work:
      • Before and after work shifts.
      • Before and after work breaks.
      • After touching frequently touched surfaces, such as fare boxes and handrails.
    • All the time:
      • Before, during, and after preparing food.
      • Before eating food.
      • After using the toilet.
      • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  People who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or think they may have it should not use rideshare, taxis, or public transportation per CDC guidance.
  • Drivers should stay home when sick.

For the Transit Authority

Develop a COVID-19 health and safety plan to protect employees according to CDC business guidance. Share it with employees.

  • Screen all employees for signs of COVID-19 at beginning of shift (temperature, cough, shortness of breath); refer those screening positive to their healthcare provider and do not allow to work until cleared.
  • Train employees on proper hand washing practices and other routine infection control precautions.
  • Provide employees access to soap, clean running water, and drying materials or alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol at their worksite.
  • Provide employees with appropriate disposable gloves and train on properly using them.
  • Provide disposable disinfectant products that meet EPA criteria for use so that surfaces commonly touched by the bus operator can be wiped down. Provide employees training on manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect all vehicles no less than daily with products that meet EPA criteria for use.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Put measures in place to physically separate or force distance between bus operators and passengers of at least six (6) feet. Consider physical partitions or visual cues like:
    • Floor decals.
    • Colored tape.
    • Signs that show passengers must not sit or stand near the bus operator.
  • Post information for passengers on the buses about stopping the spread of germs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/stop-the-spread-of-germs.pdf.
  • Insist that sick employees to stay home and not return to work until cleared from isolation.
    • Provide information on who to contact if employees become sick.
    • Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies.
    • Consider drafting non-punitive emergency sick leave policies if sick leave is not offered to some or all employees.
  • Have a designated person to respond to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Provide employees with accurate information about COVID-19 and regular updates.
  • Do worksite assessments to identify COVID-19 prevention strategies.
  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and proper hand hygiene practices at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.

For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available. Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 (1-800-846-8517 TTY); connect with a trained counselor through the Ohio Crisis Text Line by texting the keyword “4HOPE” to 741 741; or call the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services help line at 1-877-275-6364 to find resources in your community. 

Prevention Infographic

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions.

  • Stay home 
  • Practice Social Distancing
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
  • Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
  • Clean and disinfect "High-Touch" surfaces often
  • Call before visiting your doctor
  • Practice good hygiene habits 

If you have questions regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 please call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)


High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

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