*Please review the State Order in addition to the local County Order and this Directive. Where there is a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more restrictive order must be followed. The State also has specific guidance for certain industries that must be followed in addition to this mandatory directive.*
Issued: July 10, 2020
Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at covid19.ca.gov.
Under the new Health Officer Order issued July 2, 2020 (“Order”), people may be using public transit to go to work, shop, and get around. It is vital that public transit agencies take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission for their workers and passengers.
This Directive explains how public transit agencies may operate. This Directive is mandatory, and failure to follow it is a violation of the Health Officer’s Order issued on July 2, 2020 (“Order”). Public transit agencies must comply with the Order and all requirements of this Directive. In addition, public transit agencies are strongly encouraged to complete and submit a Social Distancing Protocol to guide them in implementing safety measures for their vehicles and facilities, and in implementing COVID-19 training measures for their employees.
Note: The term “public transit” as used in this guidance applies to all forms of public transportation, including but not limited to buses, trains, light rail, and paratransit, regardless of whether operated by public agencies or private providers.
All personnel and passengers must wear face coverings at all times when using public transit. This means that face coverings must be worn by everyone who is riding in a public transit vehicle (including passengers, the driver/operator, and any other transit personnel present) and by everyone who is waiting to board public transit at a passenger pickup/drop-off location (such as a bus or train station, bus stop, train platform, etc.), except for people specifically excepted from this requirement. If the pickup/drop-off location has transit agency personnel onsite, the personnel must be tasked with enforcing this requirement.
NOTE: Face coverings are not required for very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for communication by or with people who are hearing impaired. Transit agencies may not require people who fall into these categories to wear face coverings while using their services.
Social Distancing Measures
While using public transit, passengers must, to the maximum extent feasible, maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from everyone who is not in their household. To ensure that passengers are able to maintain this social distancing, transit agencies must:
- Restrict the number of passengers allowed to board the vehicle to ensure that everyone is able to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from people not in their household.
- Frequently remind passengers to sit at least 6 feet away from all passengers outside their household.
- Allow sufficient time for the boarding and disembarking process so that crowds do not form at the doors and passengers can enter or exit the vehicle with at least 6 feet of social distance between each person or each household group.
- Use spacing tools (such as lines of tape on the ground) at passenger pickup/drop-off locations to show passengers where to stand to maintain at least 6 feet of social distance while they wait.
- Instruct agency personnel to maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from passengers and other personnel whenever feasible. NOTE: If a passenger with a physical disability requires assistance entering or exiting the transit vehicle or securing themselves in their seat, agency personnel should provide whatever assistance they would provide under normal circumstances, even if that means coming within 6 feet of the passenger. Personnel must clean their hands with hand sanitizer before and after assisting passengers in this fashion.
- Bus drivers should ask passengers to enter and exit through rear entry doors in addition to front doors, if possible.
Sanitization and Hygiene Measures
Transit agencies must take the following sanitization and hygiene measures to ensure that each transit vehicle and passenger pickup/drop-off location is as clean and safe as possible for agency personnel and passengers:
- Transit agencies must supply passengers with readily accessible hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer must be available to passengers on buses and in each train car.
- All agency personnel must be provided with access to handwashing facilities and/or hand sanitizer when at transit stations or facilities. All transit vehicles must be equipped with hand sanitizer for use by agency personnel while operating the vehicles. Agency personnel must be instructed to clean their hands frequently throughout the workday by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if soap and water are not available, by using hand sanitizer—including before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after blowing their nose/coughing/sneezing, before and after work shifts, before and after work breaks, after touching frequently touched surfaces (such as fareboxes and handrails), before and after assisting customers, and after putting on/touching/removing face coverings.
- Transit stations and vehicles must be regularly sanitized in accordance with the CDC’s Guidelines on Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces. This sanitization must occur regularly throughout the day.
- At transit stations, sanitization must include all high-traffic areas (including but not limited to restrooms, stairways, and areas of ingress/egress) and high-touch surfaces (including but not limited to handrails, elevator buttons, kiosks, ticket machines, turnstiles, benches, doorknobs, and seating areas).
- Within transit vehicles, sanitization must include all high-touch surfaces (including but not limited to seats, arm rests, door handles, seatbelt buckles, light and air controls, walls and windows, grab handles, pull-cords, and buttons used by riders to request a stop). All areas of the driver’s cab must be cleaned between shifts or users, whichever is more frequent.
- When safe to do so, and when the weather allows, vehicle windows should be left open to allow for maximum airflow.
- Passengers must be encouraged to purchase tickets and add value to transit and rail cards online to minimize the need for use of machines at the station.
- Agencies must allow and encourage passengers to verbally request a stop to avoid having to touch the stop request signal.
- If safe to do so, any indoor pickup/drop-off locations (e.g., enclosed bus stops) must be closed and outdoor alternatives used instead.
- All agency personnel must be instructed to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, if not possible, to cough or sneeze into the sleeve or elbow (but not into hands).
- All agency personnel must be instructed not to report to work if they feel or recently felt feverish, have or recently had a cough, or have or recently had other COVID-19 symptoms (which include shortness of breath, chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell).
- Transit agencies must provide personnel with information on COVID-19 testing locations: sccfreetest.org
- Agency personnel must be encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 at least once a month in accordance with County guidance.
In every passenger compartment of every transit vehicle and at each passenger pickup/drop-off location, signs must be posted prominently with the following instructions for passengers:
- All passengers must wear face coverings while waiting for and riding public transit (except for very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for communication by or with people who are hearing impaired).
- Passengers must cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, if not possible, must cough or sneeze into the sleeve or elbow (but not into hands).
- Passengers must not use public transit if they are sick with a fever (subjective or measured), cough, or other COVID-19 symptom (including shortness of breath, chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell).
- To the maximum extent feasible, passengers must maintain at least 6 feet social distance from people not in their household, including while waiting in line.
For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, please see the FAQ page. Please note that this Directive may be updated. For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, please visit the County Public Health Department’s website at www.sccgov.org/coronavirus.
Additional Resources for Transit Agencies and Transit Agency Workers