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COVID-19 pandemic response: Public transportation remains open in Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade, Tri-Rail continue offering public service despite social isolation guidelines

MIAMI – Homeless people in downtown Miami often use the free airconditioned public trolleys and the Metromover smart car system. On Monday, the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to affect the reliability of their refuge from the burning sun.

Since epidemiologists believe the new coronavirus can live for hours or days on hard surfaces, the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works equipped cleaning teams with “high-grade sanitizers," multi-purpose cleaners and new orders.

They are disinfecting handrails, ticket machines, doors, handles, windows, panels, elevators and seats more frequently. They are also spraying buses after every run. Officials are also working with a vendor to install hand sanitizing units inside public buses.

Miami-Dade officials’ decision to keep public transportation up and running conflicts with guidelines from public health officials who are tracking the deadly respiratory disease around the world. The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority is also keeping Tri-Rail trains running.

“The system provides an integral service to the community, especially during times of emergency,” Steven L. Abrams, SFRTA Executive Director, said in a statement. “Most people still have to get to work, so we’re doing our part to keep trains disinfected and reminding riders of the steps they can take to help avoid the spreading of the virus.”

Closing the services would also represent a loss of revenue. Epidemiologists are encouraging social distancing, meaning people should keep about six feet apart or more from others. The mitigation strategy aims to minimize hospitalizations to be able to have sufficient resources to save lives.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials believe the deadly disease spreads when someone sneezes or coughs and someone else inhales the droplets. This is why the CDC issued a guideline asking the public to avoid events with 50 or more people.

Social distancing is not the same as being on a self-quarantine or in isolation, which requires people to stay home and avoid all contact with others.

Here is a list of tips for people who are using public transportation during COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.
  • Do not use public transportation if you are feeling sick. Some COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, so keep your distance.

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