PVA Releases Coronavirus Reopening Guidelines

file photo
file photo

Published Apr 30, 2020 6:18 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) has released a guidance document entitled "Reopening Guidelines: Getting the Domestic Passenger Vessel Industry Back Underway." 

The document uses the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) limiting the effects of coronavirus. 
The new guideline document discusses:

•     Monitoring Employee and Passenger Health
•     Healthy Hygiene Practices
•     Social Distancing
•     Personal Protective Equipment
•     Cleaning and Disinfecting

At this time, recommended spacing between people is six feet even with mask requirements in place. The guidance makes the recommendations:

• Consider reducing the number of passengers permitted on board to help maintain social distancing. Some local municipalities have implemented reductions as a percentage of total occupancy determined by the Fire Marshal or used a persons per square foot limitation.
• Any social distancing measures based on square footage should take into account crew areas as well as passenger areas.
• In some areas onboard the vessels, consider taping off sections of seats to help maintain social distancing.
• Holding areas used prior to boarding should allow for social distancing. Design a process to ensure guests stay separate while waiting to board the vessel. The process can include floor markings, outdoor distancing, increased boarding times, waiting in cars, etc.
• Consider an exit from the vessel/facility separate from the entrance so that disembarking passengers do not interact with boarding passengers.
• Provide hand sanitizer for guests to use, including contactless hand sanitizing stations.
• Where possible, workstations should be staggered so employees avoid standing directly opposite one another or next to each other. Where six feet of separation is not possible, consider other options (e.g., face coverings) and increase the frequency of surface cleaning and sanitizing.
• Use on board vessel announcements and signage to request passengers adhere to social distancing.
• Thank passengers for their patience as company personnel work to ensure their safety

Dinner Boat Specific Guidance:

• Consider requiring waitstaff to wear face coverings (as recommended by the CDC) if they have direct contact with guests.
• Update floor plans for common dining areas, redesigning seating arrangements to ensure at least six feet of separation between table setups. Limit party size at tables to no more than the established “maximums approved” as recommended by CDC or approved by local and state government. Where practical, especially in booth seating, physical barriers are acceptable. 
• Consider a reservations-only business model or call-ahead seating to better space diners.
• Evaluate alternatives to buffet style self-service arrangements. Consider staff serving passengers from buffet.
• Consider cashier station-based order and payment of meals, utilizing food runners with identifying table markers. This will result in less floor staff and customer interface.
• Use technology solutions where possible to reduce person-to-person interaction: mobile ordering and menu tablets; text on arrival for seating; contactless payment

"The U.S. small passenger vessel industry has always been highly focused on ensuring the safety of its passengers and crew," stated Colleen Stephens, PVA 2020 President. "The information provided in this new PVA document will help PVA members take the steps necessary to assure the traveling public that we will protect their health and well-being when onboard our vessels."
The guidelines are available here.