Coronavirus: What BART, Muni, Bay Area public transit are doing amid COVID-19 fears

ByKris Reyes KGO logo
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bay Area public transit plan for coronavirus
Bay Area transit agencies are taking precaution amid the coronavirus outbreak by developing an extensive plan, following CDC guidelines. BART's Chief Safety Officer said his team is stocked with supplies for employees, including masks and sanitizers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- BART General Manager Bob Powers was grilled at Thursday's board meeting about the system's novel coronavirus plan.

"Do we have a plan for how we escalate if we have to," asked Director Debora Allen.

Director Mark Foley asked, "What is the plan for say increasing staff or schedule frequencies?"

"I would hope the agency would proceed not if it's going to happen but when," said Rebecca Saltzman.

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BART's Chief Safety Officer Jeff Lau said that his team is stocked with supplies for their employees, including masks and sanitizers but right now, the plan is to follow CDC guidelines that recommend masks only for health workers. Power washers are also available for use but they're not being deployed, yet. A more extensive plan of action is still in development.

"That could include additional cleaning, hand sanitizers being distributed at the stations and then a lot more cleaning of the trains," said Allen.

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In a statement, MUNI and SMART officials, say they are also running business as usual, while staying on high alert. UCSF Professor of Epidemiology Dr. George Rutherfod agrees, that's the right move. He takes transit, every day.

"I'm cognizant of where my hand goes, I wash my hands when I've been touching services and that's basically all you can do," he said.

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