The year 2020 will be remembered in the history of Italy as the year of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, a period of health emergency divided into several phases when all Italian people was called to stay at home in quarantine to contain the contagion, closed schools and web lessons for students, workers invited to smart-working where possible, the possibility of going out only for work reason, health and shopping, always respecting social distancing.
Like many activities, tourism transport also had to stop throughout Italy as the government's provisions banned the movement and gathering of people, with a consequent crisis in the transport sector and in the entire tourism industry.
In the DPCM (Prime Ministerial Decree) of April 26th the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the new rules for the containment of Covid-19 in the so-called "phase 2" in which work activities can gradually reopen, starting from May 4th with different dates by sector.
From that date, the quarantine for people who can leave the house and move within the region of residence ends, avoiding gatherings and respecting social distancing. But what will happen to transport sector and in particular to the rental with driver service?
New rules for passenger transport
There are many innovations for the restarting of the transport sector in the phase 2 described in the DPCM of April 26th, with a series of rules to be respected for the containment of contagion and for not incurring in penalties or suspension of activity.
First of all, an obligation was imposed for the driver and passengers that have to wear personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks (to protect the nose and mouth) and to respect the minimum safety distance of one meter.
In this regard, the government guidelines attached to the DCPM of April 26th briefly indicate as following:
- passengers cannot occupy the seat next to the driver who must remain unused and therefore free;
- in cars, limo and minivans used for hire with driver with a capacity up to 6 seats, a maximum of 2 passengers per vehicle can be transported and only on the rear seats as long as they are equipped with masks, otherwise only one passenger can be transported;
- in vehicles over 6 seats, therefore minibuses and coaches, you can travel only on the rear seats, no more than two passengers per row spaced at least one meter apart, leaving the seat next to the driver free;
- non-usable seats must be marked with markers clearly visible to the user;
- it is preferable to install a dividing wall between the driver and passengers;
- passengers will be able to get on and off the central or rear door of the bus keeping the minimum distance of 1 meter, the front door cannot be used;
- installation of dispensers containing hand sanitizers for passengers;
- affixing information signs on board the vehicles about the correct methods of user behavior with the prescription that failure to comply may cause the interruption of the service.
As for vehicle cleaning, the entire company fleet must be sanitized every day with disinfectant products recognized by the Ministry of Health and suitable for anti-Covid-19 sanitization.
Social distancing while traveling
Everyone knows that traveling by bus is considered a moment of aggregation that facilitates socialization among people, but in this pandemic period we were all forced to isolate ourselves in our homes, with travel ban.
The tourist coach has so far been considered the most economical means of transport to move around Italy for both day and multi-day excursions, airport transfers and city tours, since a large number of people could be transported with a single vehicle.
Let's take as an example a group of 50 people who, before the pandemic, could travel on a single coach occupying all the seats until filling, while in this new phase, 2 coaches will be needed to respect social distancing.
It is true that this regulation is necessary to contain the contagion until the end of the health emergency, but this will lead to passengers an increase in per-capita expenditure, a consequent decrease in the number of services to be performed because not everyone will have the opportunity to spending sums tripled compared to the past, without neglecting a serious crisis in the tourism sector which will have irremediably decreased the turnover and earnings of many companies, which have already been severely tested by months of work stoppage.
Although a slow recovery is expected on the horizon, it is plausible that many people will be afraid of traveling for fear of possible contagion, everyone's habits will certainly change, but the hope for everyone is to return to normal as soon as possible.
The resumption of tourist activity
Starting from May 4th, an increase in rail connections and the reopening of some Italian airports including those of Rome Ciampino and Fiumicino are scheduled, while the reopening of museums capable of ensuring compliance with the minimum distance of one meter among visitors is set for May 18th, so we can think of a new beginning for the tourism sector and in particular for passenger transport.
With the restoration of the operation of airports and railway stations, people will have the opportunity to move more easily, so that travelers will slowly return to take advantage of the private transport with driver, albeit in smaller numbers and in a certainly different way.
In this phase of resumption of tourist activity pople can only move within their own region, if not for proven needs declared in written form with self-certification.
From June 3rd, the "phase 3" begins, in which you can move freely between the various regions throughout Italy without self-certification, with the exception of some regional provisions that provide for the obligation to register on arrival, as for Sardinia.
Many activities such as travel agencies, bars and restaurants reopen their premises to the public, even monuments and churches in Rome such as the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City reopen their doors to tourists, but always respecting social distancing and using personal protective equipment.
Noleggio Bus Roma S.r.l. guarantees full compliance with all the rules issued by the Government, therefore the use of personal protective equipment, social distancing and sanitation of the vehicles used.
Update of August 7th, 2020
On August 7th, 2020, a new DPCM was issued with updates about the guidelines for the reopening of economic activities in compliance with social distancing and hygiene-behavioral recommendations aimed at contrasting the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In the rental sector, without prejudice to the obligations for passengers and drivers about the use of personal protective equipment, hygiene and sanitation, a derogation has been introduced to the interpersonal spacing of one meter on board, therefore the filling of the vehicle for the total number of registered seats except for the seat next to the driver, provided that:
- the body temperature of passengers must be measured before boarding the vehicle, which must be below 37.5°C;
- assemblies are avoided when getting on and off the vehicles, avoiding as much as possible also the movements on board;
- for long-distance journeys, the face mask is replaced at most every 4 hours;
In addition, each passenger must issue a specific self-certification stating:
- not to be affected by COVID-19 and not to have undergone a mandatory quarantine period of at least 14 days;
- not to have symptoms attributable to COVID-19 such as body temperature above 37.5°C, cough, cold;
- not having had contact with a person affected by COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
- the commitment to give up the trip and inform the competent Health Authority in the event that any of the aforementioned symptoms emerge before the trip or occurs within eight days from the arrival at the destination of the service used.
In the last DPCM of January 14th, 2021, valid until March 5th, 2021, the previous regulation in force is reconfirmed.