Factbox: How to travel in Europe in the era of coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Commission unveiled a series of measures aimed at ensuring people can start travelling safely across the continent again as governments try to revive tourism and airline industries brought to a halt by the coronavirus.

FILE PHOTO: A woman sits at Peraia beach as Greece begins a gradual easing of the nationwide lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Thessaloniki, Greece, May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Below are the general guidelines for air, rail, water and road travel and steps for each mode of transport:


* Passengers will be encouraged to buy tickets, reserve seats and check in online.

* Passengers should wear facemasks, especially where physical distancing measures cannot be fully observed at all times. These do not need to be medical masks.

* Physical distancing should be ensured at security checks and luggage drop-off and collection.

* Dedicated lanes should be set up to keep passenger flows separate at ports, airports, train stations, bus stops, ferry landings and urban public transport hubs.

* Hubs should remove facilities that encourage crowding, such as benches, tables or, re-arrange them to ensure distancing.

* Fewer passengers may be allowed on board buses, trains or ferries, and passengers who are not from the same household may be seated apart.

* Transport staff should have adequate protective equipment.

* Sanitising/disinfecting gel should be available and vehicles cleaned and disinfected regularly.

* Food, drinks and other goods may no longer be on sale on board.

* Duty-free shops and other travel retailers should control passenger movement with floor markers and restrict customer numbers, boost cleaning and set up barriers at till points among other measures.

* Contact tracing and warning measures with the use of mobile apps could be used on a voluntary basis. Such apps should be able to function across borders.


Protocols will be outlined by regulators in the next few weeks and should include:

* Ventilation should be strengthened, with hospital-grade air filtering and vertical airflow.

* Movement needs to be reduced in the cabin, such as less cabin baggage, fewer interactions with the crew.

* Passenger flows should be managed with early arrival times at the airport; prioritising electronic/self-check-in; minimising contacts at baggage drop-offs, security and border control points, boarding, and during baggage collection.

* Pre-ordering of on-board services and meals should be, where possible, done at the time of booking.


* Terminals, rest areas along motorways, parking, fuelling and charging stations should maintain high levels of hygiene.

* At stations, passenger flow should be managed.

* Where adequate levels of public health cannot be ensured, closing stops or stations should be considered.


* Rear-door boarding and the use of windows for ventilation instead of air conditioning should be used.

* Seating should be organised where possible so that families sit together, while people not travelling together should be separated.

* In mini-buses, passengers should not be allowed to sit next to the driver unless physical separation is possible.

* If possible, passengers should handle the their own luggage.


* Frequency and capacity of trains should be increased if necessary to reduce passenger density.

* Rail operators should implement mandatory seat reservations on long-distance and regional trains.

* For short-distance trips, passengers should leave seats empty between them, except for passengers from the same household.

* Rail operators should use passenger counting systems, especially on commuter and suburban trains, to manage capacity.

* Passenger flow should be managed at stations and stops closed if adequate levels of public health cannot be ensured.

* Off-peak hour travel should be encouraged with incentives, such as adjusted pricing, or flexible working hours in the case of commuter trains, to avoid crowding.

* Doors should be opened at each stop either automatically or remotely by the driver.

Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Keith Weir