Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 07, 2021 (SKNIS): Carleen Henry-Morton, Chairperson of the Traffic Safety and Public Service Drivers Board, reminded owners and operators of public transportation in the Federation to adhere to the seating capacity guidelines that were implemented to protect all stakeholders and slow the spread of COVID-19.
On May 25, Prime Minister Dr. The Honourable Timothy Harris announced 10 measures that were accepted by the Cabinet from local health professionals to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. One such measure included reducing the number of passengers on public transportation (buses, ferries etc.) to 50 percent of the established capacity to facilitate physical distancing and a resultant reduction in the risk of transmission of the virus.
“I want to make a special appeal to all persons providing public transport over the next two days [of limited operations] – bus and taxi operators, ferry service and water taxi service providers – please be reminded of the stipulated COVID-19 Prevention and Control Measures that are intended to ensure the safety of the travelling public and by extension all citizens given the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus and its variants,” said Mrs. Henry Morton at the NEOC COVID-19 Press Briefing for July 07, 2021.
According to Mrs. Henry Morton, for a 15 seater bus, only nine passengers are allowed to occupy the bus at any one time, eight in the back ( two per row) and one passenger in the front seat sitting away from the driver. This, she said, is to allow for social distancing.
Conductors of public transportation were encouraged to continue to apply the necessary health and safety measures to keep everyone safe.
“Operators, please practice and do all you can to enforce the prevention and control measures on your vehicles or vessels. For example, sanitize high-touched areas and all seats as often as you possibly can; have sanitization stations or the necessary products available for passengers to sanitize their hands as well,” said Mrs. Henry-Morton. “Insist that all passengers must be wearing their mask correctly, covering their noses and mouths before entering your bus or vessel and for the duration of the trip and that they observe physical distancing guidelines at all times.”
She encouraged operators to leave their windows open where necessary to allow for free flow of air and maximum ventilation. They were also advised to record names and contact numbers for the passengers when and where possible in case the information is needed for contact tracing.
Chairperson Henry-Morton said that the travelling public also has a role to play when utilizing transport services. She urged them to comply with the prevention and control measures that are intended to keep them safe. These include wearing their mask correctly at all times, observing social and physical distancing and sanitizing their hands frequently. The travelling public was advised to have a personal hand sanitiser to use when they are out, as well as to stick to their plan or priority list so as to avoid being outdoors for long periods.