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  • Melinda Murphy

Google Maps now has COVID component

With scientists and public health advisors warning of things like “second waves” of COVID-19, resulting from the progressive loosening of restrictions in countries around the world, Google’s latest Maps update includes information on public health mandates in your area.

It can be difficult to be sure you’re following enforced social-distancing or other measures like mask-wearing, especially if you are planning to travel to other countries as it gradually becomes an option again.

Maps is including public-transit information in a lot of countries where travelers might find themselves, including, but soon expanding beyond: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the U.S.

The new alerts feature mandates on social-distancing and mask-wearing, but also include things like average passenger counts and the greatest hours of crowdedness on trains and buses. Powered by millions of contributions from past transit passengers, the new predictions can help people see how crowded a particular bus line or train tends to be at any given time of day.

Google said in a press release that this function should be ideal for essential workers looking to get to and from work in a safer and informed way.

Once Google receives authoritative data from local, state and federal governments or from their websites, their update will also include driving alerts showing COVID-19 road checkpoints, and information on requirements and eligibility when driving to hospitals or coronavirus test centers.

There aren’t many things more unsettling than trying to find laws and regulations on foreign government websites while you’re traveling, making these new tools perfect for the vanguard of post-COVID-19 world explorers taking to the sea and sky as borders gradually reopen.

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