Fares will not be collected on the buses and passengers will be required to wear face coverings.
At the same time, city leaders decided it would be too difficult to protect the health of employees and the public to open municipal pools for this summer.
With 386 new cases as of Thursday, May 14, 2020, Iowa had 13,675 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, and with 12 additional deaths, so far, 318 Iowans have died of COVID-19. In just the past day, hospitalizations increased from 388 to 405 statewide, and outbreaks at long-term care centers increased from 33 in Iowa to 35. Positive test results rose from 9.9 percent Wednesday to 15.3 percent in just one day.
Saying she is “looking at the data,” Governor Kim Reynolds announced that many restrictions on businesses throughout the state would be allowed to expire at the end of this week.
Read announcements from the city of Cedar Rapids about bus service and municipal pools:
City of Cedar Rapids Transit service will resume beginning Monday, May 18, 2020.
Transit Service will be available on weekdays, Monday through Friday from 5:15 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with hourly service on all routes except for Route 5, which will run in 15 minute intervals. There will be no weekday peak service or Saturday service at this time.
Fares will not be collected and passengers will be required to enter and exit the bus through the back door, unless they have an ADA accessibility issue that requires the use of the front door. Passengers will be required to wear face coverings (masks, bandanas, neck gaiters, scarves) on the bus or in the Ground Transportation Center (GTC). Bus capacity will be limited to 10 passengers per bus at this time. Extra buses will be available for overflow if needed.
Passengers are asked to limit transit use for only essential trips, such as rides to work, the grocery store, or medical appointments. Passenger will not be allowed to wait inside the GTC, but will have access to the restrooms and information booth.
Yellow chains have been installed on each bus to serve as a barrier to provide social distancing between the driver and passengers. Hand sanitizer is available on every bus for passenger use. Reminders will be posted regarding proper social distancing, hand hygiene, face coverings, etc.
Buses and the GTC have been cleaned and sanitized, and high-touch surfaces will continue to be cleaned and sanitized daily. GTC restrooms will be cleaned several times a day.
Transit Employees will undergo a daily pre-shift screening and temperature check. Employees have access to face coverings, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, and surface sanitizer.
The City will continue to partner with Horizons/NTS and with Linn County LIFTS to fill in any transportation service gaps. Adjustments will be made as necessary and as conditions change.
To protect the safety of employees and the public, the City of Cedar Rapids will not open Bever, Bender, Jones, Ellis, Cherry Hill and Noelridge Pools and Aquatic Centers this summer. The City has spent more than six weeks reviewing potential guidelines for operation and determining if accommodations could be made to safely allow public swimming. With over 160,000 pool users each summer, the potential for exposure to COVID-19 exists, even following guidelines, due to the number of surfaces at the facilities that are touched by hundreds of people each hour. In addition, social distancing within the pool and lifesaving would be problematic.
“Our primary goal is to keep the community safe and we believe that this is the best precaution to take for the summer. We have made the decision early to allow our staff time to find other summer employment and plan for other recreation programs,” said Scott Hock, Parks and Recreation Director.
Staff will continue to follow recommendations from the Iowa Department of Public Health and CDC to determine if Bender Indoor Pool could be opened for swim lessons late this summer.