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Protect your transit drivers

If you've traveled on the bus recently, you may have noticed a few things, like passengers that are keeping ample distance between one another and perhaps some people wearing masks.

A Cortland Transit bus is pictured in this photo from January, prior to the lifestyle changes that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, altering daily life.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope everyone who needs to use the local public transportation system or taxi cabs, will take a few precautions to keep drivers and the rest of the traveling public, (as well as yourself) safe.

The first thing a rider should be thinking is: Is this trip essential? If it's not a necessary trip to get basic supplies, prescriptions or to go to a medical appointment, then you should be staying home, given the current restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

If your travel is necessary, there are a few things you can do to safeguard yourself and others.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people: * Wash hands vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after being in public, after blowing your nose or sneezing, and whenever they are dirty

* Maintain a distance of at least six feet from others

* Wear a cloth face mask to cover your nose and mouth when out in public

An important note is that a cloth face mask is recommended, not a mask that is meant for a health-care worker (those are in short supply already and reserved for these workers). One local business making these masks is Magpie Custom Creations, located in the historic corset factory building on East Court Street.

It is good practice to wash your hands before you leave your house, so they are clean if touching a surface like a door handle or passenger rail, is unavoidable. Wearing gloves will also help prevent the spread of germs.

And be considerate of others. If you want to talk to your neighbor on the bus, do so from a distance of at least six feet. And don't sit right behind the bus driver- realize these drivers are exposing themselves to the public all day long to get you where you need to go and they need to maintain a safe distance at all times.

In this photo, taken in January, prior to social distancing measures currently in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, Cortland Transit bus driver Ron Gardner is pictured with two passengers. Such proximity is no longer allowed on buses and passengers are asked to observe the rules to keep everyone safe.

Also, be understanding. The bus drivers may ask you to sit in a different spot or ask you to move from where you are planning to sit. They aren't doing this to be difficult or cause trouble, they are doing it to protect themselves, and others.

Taxi companies may each have their own rules, and they are assuring the public of heightened cleaning protocols in place to safeguard their vehicles.

And while inter-city travel is not yet forbidden locally, the CDC urges potential travelers to consider the following prior to traveling within the United States:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?

  • Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?

  • Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19?

  • Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?

  • Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition? I

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?

For more on the guidelines go here.

Please follow the rules, stay home if you can, and wash your hands frequently. These are small steps everyone can take to stop the spread of the virus!


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