Like many other businesses, Airporter is getting ready to restart our services. Like many of you, normal life came screeching to an emergency stop in March and we suspended services, as flights were grounded, and air travel across the world came to a near complete shutdown.
It was a shock to our system, and unprecedented in nearly 25 years of business. So, we are delighted to be getting back to business on 20 July. Travel will look and feel very different, of course, and we have been busy during lockdown making changes to our services in line with airlines, airports and transport operators. The most obvious change will be wearing a face covering when travelling. Let’s be honest: it does take some getting used to, so let’s cover the basics.
Firstly, wearing a face covering will be mandatory. It will be mandatory for travelling on Airporter, going through the Belfast Airport and on your flight. It is our “new normal”. Travelling with a face mask or face covering will become part of how you pack. Passport? Check. Phone charger? Check. Face mask? Check.
Disposable face masks are available from an increasing number of retailers, including in Foyleside. You can also purchase (or sew if you’re handy) cloth face coverings. Cloth masks are washable and re-useable, and kinder to the environment because they do not produce excessive waste. We are happy with either cloth or disposable face coverings, but you must bring your own and you must keep it on for the duration of the journey.
Secondly, do not touch your face. This is harder than you think and requires a bit of practice and constant reminding. When wearing a face covering, make sure it covers from the bridge of your nose to underneath your chin. Before you put it on, make sure your hands are clean – either having been washed or by using hand sanitizer. It’s tempting to keep adjusting it – but you really have to try to not touch your face, your nose or your eyes.
Finally – and I’ll just say this quickly – you’re unlikely to love it. Your face gets warm very quickly and if you wear glasses, you may find they steam up. You can’t really chat the same way because your voice is a bit muffled and the mask can slip when you’re speaking.
But wearing a face covering is what “new normal” will look and feel like when travelling for the foreseeable future. It’s a big change we can all make to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and to keep each other safe. We understand if it’s not for you – but I’m afraid we cannot have you on board an Airporter bus if you are not prepared to wear one.