And while the families of the men are hoping for the best, so are bus operators. Their industry has taken blow after blow during this pandemic, but their services remain essential to work, social and family life across the country.

Tonight, they agreed not to shut down after reaching a compromise with the government.

You'll remember that on Friday morning government announced that they would have to operate at only 50% capacity to keep COVID under control but by evening that was reversed and they were allowed to go with 100% capacity.

Well, tonight there is another change - and this one is a compromise - buses will now be allowed to carry 75% capacity.

It's not an ideal situation, especially with no subsidy, but the president of the BBA, Thomas Andy Shaw, explained that it is the best they can do for now.

Voice of: Thomas Shaw, President, BBA
"I explained to them that from before the Covid operators needed assistance and they didn't get it and with the Covid it got worse and at 50% there is no way you can actually operate at 50%. You cannot make 100 and spend 200, so what we came up with was a 75% and prices that were set in 2019 some of the operators were not even charging it. In a time like this if we were supposed to operate at 50% then we are not charging the right price. So, the outcome of that meeting yesterday was that they will be taking that to cabinet and they would give me a feedback today. I spoke to the minister and he said that cabinet approved the 75% and that would come into effect on Thursday."

"We are willing to work with them because we know we are at a crucial time with this pandemic and this is where we go from there. They said the government is not in a position to give subsidy and if they start that them so many operators would jump on board and it just wouldn't work and they are not in the position to do so. So we came up with this agreement with the 75%, because as it is right now some of us are not even operating at that right now. When they brought out that first information about 60% I think what they should have done before is to really dialogue with the operators or the association to see what impact it would have on the industry or on the communities. My operators are willing to work, but as I said they cannot go out there and work for nothing and even at the 75% its still a bit hard but as I said we will go with it."

"All the operators' that are out there right now, no operators are doing their full schedule. From the pandemic began most operators if you have 10 runs some are doing 5 and if you have 2 runs some are doing 1. Because you don't have that volume."

Shaw reminded operators to keep up with sanitizing their buses and their passengers as well as enforcing mask wearing protocols.

Channel 7