Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We would like to update you on efforts to fight Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). As you may be aware, cases of COVID-19 are present through much of the United States, including Massachusetts and Metropolitan Boston.
First, we want to stress the importance of taking care of yourself by practicing basic habits of good hygiene to protect against colds and viral illness. These simple precautions include:
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- If you have a fever or feel sick, stay home if you are able to do so and call your healthcare provider.
We urge you to stay home if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever of 100° or higher, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, aching muscles, and congested or croupy cough.
Second, we want to share with you the efforts the MBTA is taking, working in close coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to sanitize and clean transit stations and vehicles. New enhanced precautionary actions taken by the MBTA include the following:
- Cleaning and disinfecting: The MBTA is expanding and enhancing the frequency and intensity of cleaning procedures with its contracted cleaning vendors. Starting last Friday, all MBTA fleet vehicles (buses, trolleys, subway cars, Commuter Rail coaches, ferries, and RIDE vehicles) will be disinfected on a daily basis. This measure augments regularly scheduled cleaning and sanitizing protocols already in place.
The MBTA has also issued a new protocol requiring high-contact surfaces at subway stations to be cleaned every 4 hours. This protocol specifically targets areas including station handrails, fare gates, and fare vending machines, across the system.
- Sanitizers: The MBTA is procuring a large quantity of hand sanitizing dispensers and supplies that will be deployed system-wide upon delivery, including at MBTA facilities and stations. This includes additional disinfectant wipes and cleaning sprays, as well as individual hand sanitizers for distribution to our members.
At this time, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is reporting the risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low. Nevertheless, our individual and collective focus should remain on commonsense measures to prevent the transmission of viral infections, including cold and flu.
Up-to-date, authoritative information on COVID-19 can be found at the following websites:
- Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: https://www.mass.gov/guides/information-on-the-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19
- Printable factsheet: https://www.mass.gov/doc/english-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-0/download
Please be assured, we continue to monitor the Coronavirus situation closely with MBTA management and contingency plans are in place should circumstances change. Members should speak with their managers or the executive board about any additional concerns they may have.
In closing, your safety and our riders’ safety are our first priority. We want to thank you for your support in keeping yourself and our ridership healthy and safe. Thank you for what you do every day. We will continue to keep you informed of developments as they happen.
Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589