Muscat: Public transport in Oman has resumed at sea and in the air, and will recommence on land with safety regulations to protect passengers from infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mwasalat, the country’s transport operator, will resume bus operations on September 27, while Oman Air has already begun flights to Duqm. Boat operators have also resumed their activities for a while now, with social distancing and sanitisation measures in place.
“Intercity public transport services will start operating on September 27, and public transport services within Muscat will operate from October 4,” said a statement from the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology.
“The operation of transport services within Salalah will begin from October 18, and the date for operating public transport services in Sohar will be determined later by Mwasalat.”
As part of resuming operations, a number of steps to safeguard the health and hygiene of passengers are to be taken.
Buses are to be sterilised before and after each trip, and all passengers travelling on intercity buses will have their temperatures checked before boarding. Masks must be worn by all on board, and hand sanitisers must be made accessible to them.
Passengers are required to practice social distancing while in the bus, through the prevention of people sitting on adjacent seats.
It is also prohibited to stand inside the vehicle. Holding of handles within is discouraged, and passengers will only be allowed to board if they do not display the symptoms of COVID-19.
With airports in the country resuming partial operations on October 1, having adopted the required security protocols for travellers and staff, Oman Air began flights to Duqm on September 20, and is now operating six flights a week to the Wusta Governorate.
A statement from the national carrier said the resumption of flights was “a significant step forward in the nation’s economic development and a reflection of the airline’s commitment to serving the Sultanate. This step supports the development of this increasingly important city.
“As a Special Economic Zone, Duqm plays a vital role in Oman’s economic growth. Oman Air’s service helps facilitate business growth in the area and attract further investment.”
“Oman Air will maintain its comprehensive safety programme throughout all elements of the travel journey to ensure that guests fly confidently. Masks are required when guests are on board the aircraft and in Oman’s airports.
“Physical distancing is maintained while guests board and exit the aircraft, which are carefully cleaned after each flight and at the end of every day. Cabin crew will wear a full set of personal protective equipment, meal service has been modified to further ensure safety and a number of other steps have been taken to ensure that the airline’s guests and crew are safe at all times,” explained Oman Air.
Guests who are planning to travel on domestic flights should visit the Civil Aviation Authority website, paca.gov.om, to ensure they are prepared to comply with travel requirements. Guests travelling onward to countries outside Oman should also ensure that they are aware of all official requirements at their final destinations.
Tourist boats, which were also recently given the green light to operate, only allow small parties to board, with all passengers required to follow social distancing.
Ferries to Masirah Island, which were temporarily halted during the pandemic when the area was placed under lockdown, have also since resumed. “Ferry services to Masirah are open,” said a travel agent in the country.
“When it comes to tourist boats hired for day trips and sightseeing, the tour will not start unless passengers follow social distancing, sanitise, and are wearing masks while they are in the boat.”