How to Safely Return to Work and Still Share Your Ride

For more than seven weeks, most of us have been staying at and/or working from home as much as possible, washing our hands raw as we try to stave off the coronavirus. When we have ventured out, we stopped hugging and shaking hands as we kept our distance. We’ve worn masks and carried disinfectant wipes.

As we consider our phased-in, masked re-entry to the world, it may seem counter-intuitive to more fully embrace public transportation and ride-sharing options. But hear us out on not just why, but how we can double down on commuting together.

First, the why:

Just four weeks into Governor Holcomb’s Stay-at-Home order, nitrogen dioxide emissions in Indianapolis were down nearly 40 percent as Hoosiers parked their cars. Long-term exposure to these emissions contribute to the development and/or aggravation of respiratory diseases, and a recent Harvard University study found that people living in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to see patients die from COVID-19.

Marion and Lake counties rank first and second for positive cases of COVID-19 and number of COVID-19 deaths, and Marion County has more than a third of the state’s total infected rate and about 35% of total COVID-19 deaths.

Clearly, we benefit from fewer cars on the road. While some businesses may have discovered that Work from Home options are good for the bottom line as well as morale, there are thousands more where WFH just isn’t a viable option.

So, traffic is going to become a thing again. Whether it resumes at its prior, unhealthy pace, though, is up to us.

How you can safely resume commuting whether it’s via ride share or public transportation:

Deep Clean: If you’re sharing your car or a van, use the remaining days of the Shelter-in-Place order to give it a deep clean. If you’re socially inclined, you may want to take video or photos to share with your fellow commuters, so they know you’ve created a clean and safe ride for them.

Don’t Drive or Ride Sick: That’s it. Don’t drive or rideshare if you’re sick. Period.

Mask it up: You may feel like you’re on your way to a masquerade or robbery, but everyone in the vehicle should wear a mask.

Make Purell Your Co-Pilot: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends one person per section of your vehicle. Maybe keep a container of wipes, Purell and a spare mask in the seats beside and behind you.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself: While Hoosiers are a polite and helpful folk, we should have broken the handshake habit by now. Extend that by handling only your own bags and belongings.

Learn How to Set Your Airflow: The CDC recommends against recirculating the air in your car to minimize the chances of sharing harmful germs among your riders. Instead, bring in fresh air by disengaging this button. Rolling down the windows is good, too.

No Shared Treats: Now is not the time to celebrate the return to normal by sharing a box of donuts. To be super safe, don’t share mints or gum or anything that could transfer germs.

Broadcast Your Efforts: Tell your riders what you’ve done and what you’ll continue to do to keep them safe.

Rinse & Repeat: If you’re driving a shared vehicle, once you’re back home, give your vehicle a good wipe-down and consider deep cleaning at least once a week.

We understand this crisis is scary and that you may be leery of your fellow commuters. By following the above recommendations, you can return to work safely while also sharing transportation.

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