Ever since the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) came to the world’s attention, experts, public officials, and practically everyone else has been reminding the public to take precautionary measures and practice social distancing.
Social distancing means there should be little to no physical contact between individuals—no hugging, shaking hands, and the like—and they should stand (or sit) at least one meter or three feet apart.
But how would you practice social distancing in places where it’s often crowded, like the mall or public transportation?
For malls, including groceries and supermarkets, they are implementing the one meter distancing in the line for payments and they are limiting the amount of people who are inside the establishment at a given time. However, this can’t be simply applied to public transportation, especially in the Philippines where people rely on buses, jeepneys, and trains to bring them to work or school.
But as the COVID-19 virus has already infected over 10,000 Filipinos, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is taking precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of the commuters.
In a tweet on Friday morning, May 8, the DOTr shows how they will be implementing social distancing in the MRT-3 line.
To maintain social distancing during the train’s trip, DOTr put markers on where people could sit and covered the remaining areas to ensure the one meter distance between individuals. Even the floors are marked so commuters would know where they could and couldn’t stand.
LUBOS ang ginagawang paghahanda ng MRT-3 sa pagbabalik-operasyon nito sa posibleng pagtatapos ng enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) sa buong Metro Manila, sa o bago mag-16 Mayo 2020. pic.twitter.com/4rQnuQAOeH
— DOTr MRT-3 (@dotrmrt3) May 8, 2020
Past precautionary measures
When the community quarantine just started on March 15, the MRT-3 management implemented stricter measures by limiting passengers on the platform and inside the train. Only 30 to 33 passengers were allowed in each coach (bagon), a stark contrast to the hundreds of passengers per coach before the quarantine.
The MRT-3 line is known to be one of the most crowded modes of transportation in the country, as commuters literally stand face to face, especially during rush hour. These safety measures are being put in place as the enhanced community quarantine is expected to be lifted on May 15, 2020.