Quantcast

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak-related Discussion

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
139
So I just took the CZ EMY-SLC in a roomette. While there were lots of announcements about masks, actual safety is questionable. In the sleeper I was in, I could not believe how many people would go in their rooms and take their masks off while leaving the doors wide open. Around our room there were 3 rooms immediately adjacent to us that did this. The sleeping car attendant, who did always wear his mask, would pop into their rooms and chat with them. I think the requirement should be to keep the door closed if you don't want to wear your face covering.

The other thing is the way the diner works. I'm sorry but in an enclosed space like that, even with people at every other table, there is a major risk of COVID transmission. Combine this with groups talking loudly and laughing, that is unacceptable in my opinion. It's unsafe for even a masked crew, it's unsafe to walk through, and it's unsafe for other passengers. This would a be prime asymptomatic transmission situation.

Finally, the SLA let an unmasked man onto the train in Reno to help his friends get situated. He asked the SLA if he could before his friends boarded, and there was never any discussion about the fact he was entering the train without a face covering. The people he was helping were able bodied and he was just checking out their room, not helping with luggage. This behavior being tolerated was unacceptable in my opinion. Even masked I think it was inappropriate for him to board the train if he wasn't traveling.

We're taking the CZ back SLC-EMY on Saturday night, so wish me luck. I'm not going to leave San Francisco again until 2021 based on this experience. I've arranged a COVID test for three days after our return (luckily very easy to get in SF) and am already required by health order to quarantine for 14 days upon return anyways. Still, after seeing what COVID has done to a couple of my healthy friends, I am shocked to see such relaxed behavior on Amtrak.
Your concerns are all valid, should be reported, but I am skeptical on Amtrak's willingness or ability to correct. Same when we traveled on Auto Train before Pandemic. Seems like the the attitude and backbone of the Service Attendant, who is tipped,for his service, and the Social Responsibility of the passengers are troubling variables. Thanks, raises my concerns, Any Mask Wearers have room on a RV headed South? 😷 🤪
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,319
Location
Gator Country Florida
This is what Amtrak has on their site for the mask policy - nothing as to the position of the door

  • Face coverings: Face coverings: For your well-being and ours, Amtrak requires that all customers and employees wear a face mask or covering that fully covers the entire mouth and nose while onboard and in stations. Face coverings can be removed when customers are in their private rooms. If a customer has a medical condition that makes the customer unable to wear such a standard face covering, a facial shield is an appropriate substitute. Children under 2 years old are exempt from wearing a face covering. Amtrak reserves the right to remove a customer or ban them from future travel in the event of noncompliance with Amtrak’s face covering policy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ziv

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,239
Location
Baltimore. MD
This is what Amtrak has on their site for the mask policy - nothing as to the position of the door
What if you're in coach sitting at your seat eating or drinking? On my trip last week, while I wore my mask at all times in the station and on-board, I did take it off while enjoying my Am-bagel, yoghurt, and coffee, and, on the way home, my Am-gin & Am-tonic. I suppose one could design a mask with some sort of fitting for a straw, but I can't see how you could design one to let solid food pass through.
 

JayPea

Conductor
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,885
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
What if you're in coach sitting at your seat eating or drinking? On my trip last week, while I wore my mask at all times in the station and on-board, I did take it off while enjoying my Am-bagel, yoghurt, and coffee, and, on the way home, my Am-gin & Am-tonic. I suppose one could design a mask with some sort of fitting for a straw, but I can't see how you could design one to let solid food pass through.
You can have your mask off, even in coach, while eating.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,319
Location
Gator Country Florida
You can have your mask off while "actively" eating and/or drinking. You can't ride along with an open bag of chips (or whatever) and/or a drink cup just so you can "say" you are eating in order to take the mask off. You must actually be eating and/or drinking.

For example : If you are holding a large drink, you pull the mask down each time you sip/drink and replace it while you are just riding with the cup in your possession.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,239
Location
Baltimore. MD
You can have your mask off while "actively" eating and/or drinking. You can't ride along with an open bag of chips (or whatever) and/or a drink cup just so you can "say" you are eating in order to take the mask off. You must actually be eating and/or drinking.

For example : If you are holding a large drink, you pull the mask down each time you sip/drink and replace it while you are just riding with the cup in your possession.
If the policy is that detailed, that's ridiculous.
That's one of the problems with expecting detailed policy manuals to answer all questions. Most people aren't going to read that much detail, even if it's made available, and all you'll get are arguments between rider-"lawyers" and the train crew. I really don't think that even if you sit at your seat (by yourself) without a mask on the whole trip, that the risk is particularly higher than wearing a mask and taking it off to eat. The high back reclining seat certainly restricts the ability of the emissions from your facial orifices drifting forward to the person sitting head of you. So I suspect that train crews wouldn't make a big deal over the person with a drink and chips. I know that on my trip, when I got back to my seat with my food and drink, I took off my mask to consume them and kept it off until I was finished. I was not bothered by train crew or other passengers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ziv

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,319
Location
Gator Country Florida
I never said the policy is "that detailed" and it should not have to be ...

I suspect that train crews wouldn't make a big deal over the person with a drink and chips. I know that on my trip, when I got back to my seat with my food and drink, I took off my mask to consume them and kept it off until I was finished. I was not bothered by train crew or other passengers.
As it should be.

However, were you sitting with some food or drink "available" for the entire trip so you could keep your mask off?

If someone were to board the train, sit down, open a bag of chips, remove their mask and ride along with their mask off and several hours later still have their mask off and the bag of chips still looks full that "train crew or other passengers" just may "bother" them.

From what you described you were actively eating - not just riding along with food/drink available just so you wouldn't have to wear the mandated mask.
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
263
Location
San Francisco
If the policy is that detailed, that's ridiculous.
That's one of the problems with expecting detailed policy manuals to answer all questions. Most people aren't going to read that much detail, even if it's made available, and all you'll get are arguments between rider-"lawyers" and the train crew. I really don't think that even if you sit at your seat (by yourself) without a mask on the whole trip, that the risk is particularly higher than wearing a mask and taking it off to eat. The high back reclining seat certainly restricts the ability of the emissions from your facial orifices drifting forward to the person sitting head of you. So I suspect that train crews wouldn't make a big deal over the person with a drink and chips. I know that on my trip, when I got back to my seat with my food and drink, I took off my mask to consume them and kept it off until I was finished. I was not bothered by train crew or other passengers.
In San Francisco, you must wear a facial covering to if you're outdoors within 30 feet of someone else. If eating at outdoor dining (indoor dining has not reopened yet), you musts wear your mask from before you arrive at the restaurant to the moment your food is delivered. You are supposed to wear your facial covering if you're not actively taking a bite or drink. Most restaurants won't have staff come to your table if you're unmasked. It makes sense and is based in the science of what we know about how this virus spreads.

I'm sorry to share the unfortunate truth that leaving your mask off while at your seat in coach does expose other people to your droplets. Look at some of the infection maps from offices or planes, where one infected asymptomatic person was able to infect numerous other people nearby, many of which are further than 6 feet away.

I'm not saying don't eat or drink, but it does seem unnecessary to not follow the science on this and make some small changes to reduce risk of exposure for others and yourself.
 

ET2020

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
135
Location
Maryland
In San Francisco, you must wear a facial covering to if you're outdoors within 30 feet of someone else. If eating at outdoor dining (indoor dining has not reopened yet), you musts wear your mask from before you arrive at the restaurant to the moment your food is delivered. You are supposed to wear your facial covering if you're not actively taking a bite or drink. Most restaurants won't have staff come to your table if you're unmasked. It makes sense and is based in the science of what we know about how this virus spreads.

I'm sorry to share the unfortunate truth that leaving your mask off while at your seat in coach does expose other people to your droplets. Look at some of the infection maps from offices or planes, where one infected asymptomatic person was able to infect numerous other people nearby, many of which are further than 6 feet away.

I'm not saying don't eat or drink, but it does seem unnecessary to not follow the science on this and make some small changes to reduce risk of exposure for others and yourself.
Where might I find one of those "infection maps" ?
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
263
Location
San Francisco
I took the CZ back to EMY and it was a better experience re: COVID measures. The conductors were enforcing a rule that if you didn't want to wear your mask in your room, you needed to have your door closed. People followed the rule!

They also said that if you're eating at your seat in coach to be reasonable, "it does not take an hour to eat a bag of chips." One of the conductors made an announcement that if you don't like the rule, don't ride the train, and if you want to give them any trouble you'll be off at the first town, that Amtrak doesn't even require them to wait until the next station.

Sure, it was a bit much, but some people clearly needed it. Overall this trip felt safer than the previous one. I still think I'm going to do everything in my power to not go anywhere for a bit longer.
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
263
Location
San Francisco
Where might I find one of those "infection maps" ?
There are a couple I have off the top of my head, but I know there are more.

Here is what happened in a South Korean call center where they had a superspreader incident.

Blue are confirmed COVID cases. (Source: Centers for Disease Control) Notice how the cases stayed mostly to one side of the office, but on that side it infected quite a few people. The paper is an interesting read.

Here is a case of spread on an airline, Vietnam Airlines from London to Hanoi.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control)

It's a little tough to see, but the index case is in row 5 of business class. Almost everyone else in business class ended up contracting COVID. The good news here is that the person up front didn't infect everyone in the back.

There is another case of a person contracting COVID after a flight. The real interesting piece in this one is that the passenger wore a mask, but did not cover his nose. He became infected. It's a pretty interesting read too! Source: Science Direct
 
Top