June 2, 2020
From: Pandemic Working Group
Re: COVID-19: Ground Travel
Back by popular demand (actually, Peter Porpiglia asked), we revisit in one place the rules of engagement for those of you who are beginning to drive to meetings, appointments, fields and retail sites. Let’s start first by saying that it is okay to travel by car in connection with your job. We only ask that you keep the following considerations in mind.
Like AMVAC, most all of our suppliers and customers have adopted COVID protocols. If you are visiting a company, call ahead to find out their current restrictions. Some people are permitting meetings in parking lots, while others are opening their stores to visitors. You should ask about face coverings, indoor meetings, limits on the number of people in meetings and any other social distancing considerations and prepare accordingly.
Check on Cars and Accommodations
If you are renting a car (which is permissible) or staying overnight at a hotel (which is also permissible), you should be mindful that COVID restrictions vary by city, county and state and that various rental car and hotel/motel chains have implemented their own sets of rules. Thus, it is not safe to assume that you can get a car or reserve a room at the last minute. Once again, it is prudent to call ahead. In the course of your call – or your visitation to the appropriate website – you should find out about their social distancing requirements.
We covered this subject in our advisory of May 12. As we reported, rental car companies spend far more time cleaning within the pandemic period than before (now 18 minutes per car, up from 8 minutes). They use a variety of disinfectants and, while most wash and re-use cloths, one company uses new microfiber cloths for every cleaning. Customers are always free to clean the car further – some rental companies offer wipes (on request), while others do not. So, if you want to be on the safe side, bring your own. And, once again, we present Julia’s pictograph on hightouch surfaces in your average car worth wiping down.
Hotels and Self-Protection
As we reported in our advisory of May 18, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, points out that person-to-person contact is the biggest risk at a hotel. Think of any place where people are gathered – the check-in desk, the pool, the hotel bar – and keep your time limited in those venues. Most hotel chains are taking extra measures to keep their facilities clean. However, it you want to take extra precautions, you could wipe down frequently touched surfaces, such as door and drawer handles, plumbing handles and faucets, light switches and the TV remote. Also, most places have discontinued the communal breakfast bar and, generally speaking, the food is not worth eating there anyway. If you want to eat in the dining room, then make sure that the tables are suitably distant. Frankly, Dr. Adalja adds, “room service is best.” Finally, wash your hands regularly, wear a mask in public places and practice social distancing. Nothing new, but things that we may tend to forget in a strange environment.
What to Bring
To cover all the bases, you should bring with you two or more cloth face coverings (in case you misplace one). In some cases, these are mandatory for entering buildings, and it would be bummer to drive all the way to Poughkeepsie only to find out that you have to sleep in your car because your mask fell onto the tarmac at the last rest stop. In addition, bring hand sanitizer. This way you can wash your hands with impunity. Further, if you are concerned about either the rental car or the hotel room, then bring something like Lysol wipes (or some other brand – I’m not getting a commission here).
Lest I blather on interminably, these can be somewhat awkward times. Many people with whom you are planning to meet have been largely confined for nearly three months. While many of you (and I am speaking here to you folks in sales) are quick to reach out for a hearty handshake, please resist the urge. Doing so may cause your host to run out the back door. Instead, just try bowing or nodding (but not going to sleep). And keep your distance for the time. This guy here – courtesy of Bing.com – is demonstrating proper bowing technique. You don’t have to be as stern as he is. Also, there is no need for pause every fifteen degrees – but you get the idea. And, for the record, I haven’t seen flared pants in years. If you have a pair, then bring them along as well.
Once at the place of the meeting, avoid large groups in small spaces, this includes offices and restaurants/bars. There will be a day when we all sit elbow to elbow at the brass rail of our favorite watering hole and sing the songs of our youth (whatever those might be), but that day has not yet come. For now, let’s content ourselves with sitting outside in small groups at a safe distance.
If you have any questions or comments on this advisory, please contact either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
COVID-19 Advisory: Ground Travel