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 Post subject: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 12:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:57 pm
Posts: 87
The HeritageRail Alliance has released its recommended practices for minimizing Covid-19 exposure when reopening tourist railroads and railway museums. Here's the full text.
Aaron Isaacs, editor
HeritageRail Alliance

HeritageRail Alliance
Recommended Practices for Reopening
Tourist Railroads and Railway Museums
Approved 5-8-20


Although museums and tourist railroads may differ greatly from one another, they share certain environments and logistical situations. This paper will attempt to describe those situations and HRA members can select those that apply.

Assumptions
1. Covid-19 will remain a danger to the public for the remainder of 2020 and likely beyond.
2. In order to resume operations and serve the public, railway museums and tourist railroads must for the foreseeable future adapt to the new normal of minimizing exposure to the virus.

Disclaimers
It is impossible to guarantee no risk of infection. The purpose of this paper is to recommend measures to minimize the risk for HRA members who feel they must reopen. Please note that preferred measures are suggested first. If they are not feasible, secondary measures are proposed that will still help.

Railway museums and tourist railroads may be subject to local laws; emergency rules or other restrictions imposed by states, local governments or others that supersede these recommendations.

The information provided in this document does not and is not intended to constitute legal or public health advice. All information, content and materials available in this document are for general informational purposes only.

Behind the scenes
Before opening for the public, railroads/museums will want to reopen their offices, shops, stores, archives and other behind the scenes facilities to staff. This is the opportunity to put in place many of the measures listed below, including infrared thermometer checks, social distancing, masks and sanitation stations.

Before opening behind the scenes, a plan should be in place to monitor the health of all staff, paid or volunteer. There should also be a plan in place that covers all the precautions necessary to minimize the virus risk. Staff should receive training before resuming work.

Each staff member should fill out the Mayo Clinic self-assessment or comparable and be checked with an infrared thermometer before being admitted to the workplace.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19-sel ... sment-tool

Whoever uses a work station, piece of equipment or tool should sanitize it when finished with it.

It is necessary for management to know if a staff member contracts the virus, so that person can quarantine off-site.

Opening for the public

Universal recommendations
1. Social distancing is required in all situations.
2. All staff and visitors should wear masks. If visitors have no mask, one should be made available either free or for sale.
3. Sanitation stations (bottles of sanitizer, paper towels, wastebaskets and appropriate signage) shall be placed at all locations where sanitizing is recommended. These must be kept stocked to avoid the perception of an unsanitary facility. Where sanitation stations are not available, staff should wash hands frequently as needed.

4. All staff should be screened with an infrared thermometer before starting work. All visitors should be screened with an infrared thermometer before admission.
5. Make sure your visitors understand why you are taking the precautions related to Covid-19.

Indoor situations

Admissions

• Preferred: No face-to-face transactions. Admissions and tickets should be sold online and combined with seating reservations. Tokens, badges, tickets or other proofs of payment should not be issued by hand, only printed out by the customer or displayed on a cell phone.
• If face to face transactions are permitted, Plexiglas screens should be installed at the admissions counter.
• Preferred: No cash sales should be permitted. If cash is permitted, wear gloves and change them frequently.
• Preferred: If lobby space is limited, the admissions counter should be moved to the building entrance to reduce the number of people inside. If there are groups of any kind including families, only a single member should approach the admissions counter.
• Preferred: 6-foot distance markings or signs should be installed in the admissions line.
• If the admissions counter or credit card reader are touched by a customer, they should be sanitized immediately.
• If tokens, badges or tickets are issued at the admissions counter, they should be self service at the counter, having been sanitized in advance.
• Have a flexible cancellation policy for pre-sold tickets, recognizing that the virus could intervene to prevent attendance.

Viewing indoor displays
• If the indoor display area is limited and social distancing is difficult, the number of people entering the area should be monitored and controlled.
• If barriers around displays such as railings are likely to be touched, they should be roped off to prevent it.
• If displays are interactive, such as with push buttons or levers, either the display should be roped off to prevent touching, or there should be a sanitation station. Another option is to disable the interactive features that require touching.
• If indoor guided tours are given, group size should be limited to encourage social distancing.
• Within the exhibit area, signage should direct the flow of traffic to minimize congregating and remind visitors not to congregate outside their family group.

Libraries and archives
• Seating and access limited should be limited by social distancing.
• There should be a sanitation station.
• Tables and chairs should be sanitized after each use.
• Librarians and visitors should wear gloves when handling archive materials.
• Items examined by a visitor should be placed in a special bin afterwards for several days so the virus can wear off.

Museum stores
• Limit access to the store to achieve social distancing.
• Preferred: Customers should not be allowed to handle the merchandise.
• Reduce the number of porous merchandise items.
Refer to guidance from the Museum Store Association.

Restrooms
• Preferred: Install touchless toilets, faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers.
• If touchless appliances are not available, instruct users to use paper towels when touching faucets, soap dispensers and toilet flushing valves.
• Provide a sanitation station, including trash cans outside the restroom entrance.
• Preferred: Staff should control access and sanitize frequently touched surfaces after each use.

Food services
Preferred: No food service. If food service is provided, follow applicable health codes.

Outdoor situations

Parking: No special measures are required, although parking capacity could be reduced if necessary to spread out admissions.

Exploring the grounds
• Preferred: Sanitation stations should be located by benches or anywhere that touching of objects is likely.
• Preferred: Eliminate access to the interior of rolling stock displays such as engine cabs and passenger cars.
• Preferred: Eliminate access to children's playground equipment.

Train/Trolley rides
• Preferred: 6-foot distance markings or signs should be installed in the boarding area, along with ropes or barriers directing the one-way flow of boarding and alighting.
• Preferred: Sanitation station in the boarding area, with passengers encouraged to use a wipe or towel to grasp handrails, or Crew members should wipe down handrails after every group boards.
• Preferred: Assign seats as needed to ensure social distancing, recognizing that family groups will sit together.
• Preferred: Ventilation inside the rail car should be maximized. Avoid operating sealed window coaches with no ventilation.
• Crew members should wipe down frequently touched on-board areas between trips. Be aware that sanitizers can damage some upholstery and wood finishes.
• If a passenger needs physical assistance when boarding or alighting, crew members should first ask a family member to do it. If that is not possible, the crew member must wear gloves when touching the passenger or a wheelchair. If the person is in a wheelchair, the handles or other parts touched should be wiped down before and after assistance is rendered.
• For crew safety, crew members should maintain social distance while passengers board and alight. Do not "hand" passengers down the steps.

Special events
Most special events involve many of the situations described above, so act accordingly.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 1:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1277
Location: Back in NE Ohio
I've thought some about these situations, and understanding that while I am in no way a museum or tourist railroad professional, I have been in and around the business most of my life, as well as having been an Amtrak OBS employee for over 10 years. My one idea on the subject would be about communications and tours of facilities. I would suggest the increased use of bullhorns for tour guides to help maintain social distancing and increasing the use of (not sure of the technical term) the small short-range individual radio and headphone devices that tell visitors about the exhibits they are passing on self-guided tours. Perhaps there is now a way to have a visitor use their smart phone to listen to such explanations, which would make it easier to do such tours.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 2:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 652
I realize what this list is for but it’s important that visitors still have an enjoyable visit.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 5:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:12 pm
Posts: 96
Having established what amounts to a standard of care for its member organizations, is the Heritage Rail Alliance prepared to indemnify each of them for liabilities (specifically, lawsuits resulting from cases of Covid-19 transmission) which may arise despite these recommendations, or as a result of them?

Have any Heritage Rail Alliance member organizations run these recommendations past their own individual insurance carriers to determine whether resumption of operations under these standards is consistent with existing terms of coverage? Has the Heritage Rail Alliance, itself, seen fit to increase its own liability coverage limits in connection with the issuance of these recommendations, in the expectation that its member organizations will rely on them to their possible detriment?

To my knowledge, executive orders have been issued by the governors of several states purporting to absolve medical providers, such as hospitals and nursing homes, from tort liability for deaths which result from Covid-19 transmission within their facilities. Even more recently, media reports indicate a Congressional stalemate over additional financial relief, based in part on one political party's insistence upon temporary restrictions on tort liability for businesses which do reopen, and the other party's aversion to such measures.

The bottom line is, notwithstanding well-meaning recommendations by the HRA, can your organization afford the risk of reopening at this time (i.e., the expense of a lawsuit on behalf of someone who catches Covid-19 on your train ride), if your state has not yet met the benchmark conditions for reopening issued by the Centers for Disease Control, if your potential tort liability has not be absolved by state gubernatorial order or Congressional fiat, and/or your organization has not obtained supplemental insurance coverage for this specific risk?


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 5:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1803
Location: Strasburg, PA
With an incubation period of up to fourteen days, how would someone prove in a court that the tourist railroad they visited was the exact place where they were infected?

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 6:02 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 773
Location: New Franklin, OH
Ohio is beginning to work on SB 308 which aims to shield businesses that have adhered to guidelines from COVID-19 lawsuits. Whether it gets passed in some form or another is anyone's guess at this early stage.

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Eric Schlentner
Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
Car Knocker, Gandy Dancer & Hog Jockey
https://orrvillerailroad.com


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 6:19 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1047
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Kelly Anderson wrote:
With an incubation period of up to fourteen days, how would someone prove in a court that the tourist railroad they visited was the exact place where they were infected?


That’s where contact tracing comes in. If several cases develop and they all indicate that they were at the same location on the same day, that common location would be reasonably suspicious. All you have to do is convince a jury of that fact.

Given the fact that the COVID-19 is easily transmitted, the first question that should is asked is whether an operation should consider opening at all at this point. For those organizations whose financial situation permits, it might be advisable to hold live, online events and not physically open until this is passed. Perhaps you could give visitors a “virtual” train ride/cab ride with a tag line to “come experience it for yourself when we are able to reopen”. Perhaps your operation should reopen, sans train ride.

The train ride aspect is the biggest problem that I can see. How are your passengers going to get on or off the train without touching the handrails? How often will you clean the handrails? Are you able to provide your guests with disposable gloves or masks? Will the air conditioner used on your cars recirculate air before venting it to the atmosphere? Quite frankly, I’m not convinced that the risks presented by a train ride can be sufficiently mitigated, due to the number of necessary touch points and the congregate setting of a passenger coach, particularly those that have upholstered seats.

I was one of the decision makers that made the painful decision to not only close our museums, but to bar all volunteers and members (with specific exceptions) from museum property for the duration of the state of emergency. The only persons permitted on the property are our two resident caretakers and the CEO (for business purposes only). We are now discussing permitting volunteers who have active projects access to the property. We may require temperature checks or a written, signed statement to the effect that they have not had COVID-19/experienced symptoms of COVID-19 within the last fourteen days and that they have not knowingly had contact with someone who has had COVID-19/symptoms.

_________________
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 6:21 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1047
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Kelly Anderson wrote:
With an incubation period of up to fourteen days, how would someone prove in a court that the tourist railroad they visited was the exact place where they were infected?


And if it is passed, will it survive a legal test? I would not want to be the test subject, that’s for sure.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 7:16 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 773
Location: New Franklin, OH
Alan Walker wrote:
And if it is passed, will it survive a legal test? I would not want to be the test subject, that’s for sure.

Let’s hope it passes the initial sniff test. I imagine the low level ambulance chasers (no offense cast towards the lawyers with scruples here) are champing at the bit.

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Eric Schlentner
Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
Car Knocker, Gandy Dancer & Hog Jockey
https://orrvillerailroad.com


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 7:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1803
Location: Strasburg, PA
Alan Walker wrote:
Kelly Anderson wrote:
With an incubation period of up to fourteen days, how would someone prove in a court that the tourist railroad they visited was the exact place where they were infected?


That’s where contact tracing comes in.
If there was contact tracing...

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 11:00 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:04 pm
Posts: 125
Location: San Jose, CA
I am not a lawyer....

Re-opening criteria will be coming or are available from your local health authorities. Following guidelines from local health authorities will have more legal standing than an industry advocacy organization.

My sense is HRA is providing these practices to assist in the development of site specific re-opening plans for rail heritage sites. If an organization is unsure, contacting local health authorities should be your first call.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 11:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:06 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Bendena KS
Wow, if this is our future we might as well just eat a 12 gauge for lunch and call it a day.

Jason Midyette


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 12:07 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1803
Location: Strasburg, PA
Ken Middlebrook wrote:
I am not a lawyer....

Re-opening criteria will be coming or are available from your local health authorities. Following guidelines from local health authorities will have more legal standing than an industry advocacy organization.

My sense is HRA is providing these practices to assist in the development of site specific re-opening plans for rail heritage sites. If an organization is unsure, contacting local health authorities should be your first call.
Even better, the CDC has finally been allowed to distribute its reopening guidelines after a month or so of delay.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 2:07 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1801
Location: Southern California
What the HRA has published is more than anything a list of what should be considered when implementing reopening. That reopening has to be in line with the requirements of the local governing bodies whether it is the local city or town, the local county or the State. Read the disclaimer section.

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Brian Norden


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 8:41 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:58 am
Posts: 79
Jason Midyette wrote:
Wow, if this is our future we might as well just eat a 12 gauge for lunch and call it a day.

Jason Midyette


How did the residents of London, England survive World War 2?

I see this attitude on social media a lot about the restrictions of social distancing, staying at home and wearing masks being tyranny.

Perhaps I can ask my older brother, who's friends were drafted and died in the Vietnam War, if they would rather have been ordered to stay home and wear a mask?

Anyway, I've seen the results of polls that show well over 85% support for these restrictions. Anyone familiar with political polling will understand those numbers are well beyond "landslide" status. For me the bad publicity is an example of Tyranny of the Minority.

The bottom line is how do we reopen our museums and gain the trust of the general public.

Brian


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