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Coronavirus Resources

Safety Protocols for Drivers During the COVID-19 Pandemic:


Our number one goal is the safety of our riders and drivers during this unprecedented pandemic. Below is the Policy and Procedures developed to help us achieve this goal.

Federal Mask Mandate (Order Issued January 29, 2021)

Vehicle Sanitation:

  • Follow the instructions in the Infection Control Driver Training Standard Cleaning/Disinfecting Practices prepared by OATS Transit and available on the employee website or from your regional office.

  • High touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected frequently. High touch surfaces include: seats, railings, handrails, door handles, poles, and grab bars.

  • Thoroughly spray a disinfectant provided by your regional office on surfaces at the end of your last shift to assure it has time to kill any virus that might be on surfaces. 

Masks & Face Shields:

  • It is the policy of OATS Transit that everyone wear a mask or other face covering when on the bus. See order above.

  • When scheduling a trip, reservationists will advise riders of this policy.

  • Should a rider refuse to wear a mask when they board your bus, you can deny service before the board. However, if the refusal turns confrontational, go ahead and allow them to ride, seating them as far away from others as you possibly can. As an added precaution, crack a window in the back area of your bus if weather permits. This creates a negative air pressure so if someone does cough on your bus, the air pressure will tend to 1) draw the droplets out of the bus and 2) to keep air circulating to prevent settling of droplets on the surface. Thoroughly clean where the individual was seated as soon as they exit the vehicle. Notify your Regional Office who will then follow up with the rider.

  • It is understood some riders are unable to wear a mask; in those situations, guidance will be provided by the regional office.

  • It is mandatory drivers wear a face mask in all situations dealing with riders and customer interactions. Drivers may pull the mask down when driving in situations where you believe the mask to be a driving safety factor; however, we ask that when pulling it down, please keep the mouth covered.

  • Face Shields are available to drivers as extra protection when assisting riders.

  • If you are unable to wear a face mask for health reasons, discuss with your Regional Director what options are available.


Social Distancing:

  • Social Distancing is defined as not being within 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) of another person for more than 15 minutes.

  • Promote social distancing on the bus between passengers whenever possible. Not possible if you have a full bus; but, when your bus is not full – spread them out.

  • Avoid having anyone sitting in the seat beside you or immediately behind you if you can.


Wheelchair Securement:

  • Ask rider to turn their head towards the window as you secure their wheelchair (to avoid any sudden sneezes).

  • Ask rider to not speak as you are securing the wheelchair (avoiding any talking spray of passenger).

  • Do not speak to the rider while you are securing their wheelchair.

  • Sanitize the securement belts (lap and shoulder) after each ride as instructed in the Infection Control Driver Training Standard Cleaning/Disinfecting Practices.


What if a Rider is Sick?

  • As they schedule their trip, riders are being told they cannot ride if they exhibit symptoms or have tested positive for COVID19.

  • If a rider informs you enroute that they are sick, are going for a test, or have the virus, complete the trip using every precaution you can then immediately notify your regional office for further direction.

  • If you learn a rider you transported has tested positive but you were not within 6’ of them for more than 15 minutes and both of you were wearing a face mask, quarantine is not necessary. However, monitor your symptoms.

  • If a rider you transported tested positive and you were less than 6’ of them for 15 minutes or more (securing their wheelchair, for example), you will need to quarantine for 14 days.

  • If all OATS Transit safety precautions were taken (you and the rider wearing masks, cleaning protocols followed, etc.) you will be paid as normal while on quarantine.


Personal Responsibility:

  • Stay home if sick. Watch for any symptoms of the COVOID-19 virus like sore throat, fever or coughing. If you develop these symptoms, notify your health care provider immediately.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer throughout your day.

  • Wear a mask when out in public spaces even when not at work and avoid large gatherings in your personal life to the extent possible.

  • If you need to quarantine due to exposure outside of work, you will need to use your personal days or leave without pay.

Last updated Oct 2020

Safety Protocols for Drivers During COVID PDF

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