Getting back to business was the topic of the May 12 meeting of the Florida Limousine Association (FLA) as the state is beginning to open up after some lockdown orders were relaxed in early May. Many businesses, such as restaurants and lodging are limited in capacity, while others including movie theaters remain closed in the tourism-reliant state.
Representatives from the state’s airports were invited to give updates on what’s happening in air travel. Domestic travel is starting to slowly return as airports ramp up their cleaning and passenger screening protocols—although much of the latter is expected to be shouldered by the TSA and could potentially increase wait times as traffic increases. One notable exception is international travel, including from the U.K., as airports await the lifting of federal restrictions that were imposed on European travelers early in the national emergency. As such, airport officials don’t anticipate a robust June for international visitors. Most airports, including Orlando International Airport, are requiring chauffeurs and drivers to wear masks when on the property.
Operators participating in the online conference also discussed the ways they are cleaning and sanitizing vehicles, including installing partitions, wearing masks, and screening drivers. Additionally, deep cleaning options were shared, with Michael Miller of Cedillas offering some options. Among them were using microbial disinfectants dispersed through an atomizer to access hard-to-reach spots during evening deep cleaning and installing a UV light device directly in the roof of the vehicle, which would continuously sanitize the cabin while being safe for passengers’ eyes. The UV device, which is currently being tested for a larger market, is being used in President Trump’s limousines.
In an effort to standardize how Florida transportation companies protect their riding public, the FLA developed a list of protocols that it circulated to members:
- Vehicles go through a daily cleaning cycle, with a hospital-grade disinfectant.
- All common areas will be wiped down and disinfected between trips by drivers and chauffeurs.
- All drivers will be screened daily based on CDC and Department of Health recommendations.
- All drivers shall use PPE as required by local, state, and CDC recommendations.
- Glove wearing is promoted. Gloves to be worn while handling luggage.
- Safe passenger signs or placards depicting "this vehicle is deep cleaned daily in accordance with the CDC recommendations" should be positioned in vehicles reflecting driver's attention to safety.
- These protocols are mandatory, and masks are required to be worn by County Ordinance by both passengers and drivers. We have sanitizing equipment available at all our offices, drivers must make sure the car has been sanitized between each ride, and passengers are offered a sanitary package that includes a mask, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.
While the state is not yet operating at 100 percent, FLA President Rick Versace of A1A Airport & Limousine Service sees hope for luxury ground transportation in the top-down recovery.
“There could be a silver lining in this for our industry. People will be looking for transportation that they know and trust. Most of our vehicles are fleet-owned and go to our offices every day to be disinfected and sanitized,” Versace said to members. “Our passengers are first-class and business-class passengers that expect exceptional service. The airlines always cater to these passengers because they are the most profitable customers. These people are already starting to travel again and will be using us to drive them.”
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