Safe local travel tips during Covid-19

Top travel tips during COVID-19, including when to use public transport, how to stay safe when riding, and choosing the best way to move around.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

As of 13th May 2020, new rules are in place to keep the public safe while life slowly returns to normal. The new rules allow more people to travel for work and offer more freedom to travel for exercise. The new government advice also offers tips for safe travel during Covid-19.

During the emergency period, the government is emphasising that the lockdown measures apply to everybody. People should still stay at home unless their journey is essential. Essential travel includes going out to buy food and medical supplies for both people and pets in a household. It also includes going to work if your job does not offer the option of working from home.

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Here are some travel tips to keep you and your loved ones safe during Covid-19 if travel is necessary:

Outdoor recreation

All non-essential travel is discouraged at the moment in the UK. This includes travelling for holidays, heading out to your second home or using a campsite or caravan park. However, the government still encourages outdoor exercise and visiting green spaces for the purposes of open-air recreation. This is the only non-essential travel that is permitted at the moment, and it is especially encouraged if you can get there by car and avoid public transport.

This means you can drive to places, no matter the distance, for the purpose of spending time in nature. For example, visiting National Parks, forests and rivers is ok, as long as you maintain social distancing rules once you get there.

According to the gov.uk website, walking and cycling are also highly recommended as ways to get where you need to go, as they help ease the burden on the public transport system. Local cycling schemes are still available, so you can access a bike if you don’t have your own. The same social distancing rules apply when you’re out walking and cycling. Try to keep at least two metres away from other people, especially when stopping at crossings and traffic lights.

Using public transport

The use of public transport is discouraged for anything except essential travel during the Covid-19 epidemic. If you need to travel by public transport, always check with bus, rail and ferry operators for changes in routes and information about reduced capacity to comply with the latest rules. For example, London buses are now asking all passengers to board via the middle door to protect the drivers. 

For safety, the gov.uk website recommends two things when using public transport: travel at off-peak times and choose less-busy routes where possible. Keeping a two-metre distance from others is still important on public transport and in waiting areas. In crowded areas, wearing a face covering can also be a good precautionary measure. Once you exit public transport, wash your hands as soon as possible for at least 20 seconds.

Safety onboard

When using public transport, try to touch as few surfaces as possible and avoid physical contact with other passengers. If the transport is crowded and you can’t maintain the recommend two-metre distance from other people, try to face away from them. During and after your journey, avoid touching your face until you have had a chance to wash your hands well.

Transport staff might have specific directives for you to follow depending on where you live. These might include signage advising where to queue, barriers to help with social distancing and requests to only use certain seats or to board through specific doors. Even if there’s no signage, consider waiting for the next service if the one that is there is particularly full and would make it difficult to maintain social distancing.

If you travel during Covid-19 with your children, make sure they adhere to the same rules. Try to keep them from touching surfaces and avoid physical contact with fellow travellers. At the end of your journey, make sure your children wash their hands for at least 20 seconds as well.

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