- Despite school closures and event cancellations, the STM will remain open.
- Though the transit company is asking people to, whenever possible, ask their employers for flexible hours to avoid peak commuting times.
- Train cleanings will also be more frequent.
At a press conference Friday, the STM clarified its prevention procedures in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak in Montreal. The transit company is asking bus and metro riders to try to organize their work schedules "to allow trips to take place outside of peak hours." The news comes after the government of Quebec banned indoor public gatherings of more than 250 people.
The STM also increased its hygienic measures, announcing that they will ramp up their cleaning schedule even more than before.
"Dedicated resources" will clean all surfaces that could be touched by clients twice per day. This includes handrails, fare vending machines, elevators, and escalators.
Furthermore, the company has also promised "daily cleaning of grab rails and poles on metro trains in operation." As for buses, the company will disinfect all poles, straps, and handles at each bus garage on all work shifts.
They ask both customers and employees to respect the utmost security measures to prevent any possible spread of COVID-19.
"The risk of contamination on public transit remains low," said Luc Tremblay, General Director of the STM. They assure that the company is in constant contact with public health officials.
"The STM is taking the situation seriously," he added. "The STM is urging customers to follow the applicable prevention measures and to work with it in an effort to deal with the situation."
Along with more frequent cleanings, the STM has also advised its employees to follow stringent health and hygiene guidelines.
Like many large Quebec companies, the STM has prohibited travel outside of Quebec for employees and will limit staff meetings as much as possible.
The STM and its 11,000 employees are on high alert and will do its best to keep themselves and everyone safe.
10 days ago, the STM switched its cleaning schedule from 5-6 weeks between cleanings to once per week. As the situation evolved in recent days, the company decided to clean all surfaces twice daily.
When asked if they would consider capping the number of allowed passengers in the bus and metro, the STM said that the situation hasn't escalated to that point yet.
"If the situation evolves or gets worse, we are ready to deal with whatever circumstances come out of that," said Tremblay.
For those wondering if the STM will install hand sanitizing dispensers in metro stations, the STM claims that doing that "would not be useful."
"We think that what we're doing right now is enough to stop the spread of the virus. It's possible that we may install these dispensers but for now, there is no plan to do that in the immediate future," said Tremblay.
More information on hygiene practices during the pandemic is available on the government of Canada's website here.
Stay tuned for all the updates on coronavirus in Montreal right here on MTL Blog.