DETROIT (AP) — Bus riders in Detroit suddenly were stranded Tuesday after most drivers didn’t report to work, apparently concerned about the spread of the coronavirus and whether Michigan’s new restrictions on gatherings includes vehicles loaded with commuters.
The Detroit Department of Transportation canceled bus service shortly after 8 a.m. due to the shortage of drivers. Riders waiting at stops across the city were surprised and pulled out their phones to get a lift from friends or family.
“Just now?” a maintenance man, Amadou Sanders, 24, asked an Associated Press reporter. “How am I going to get to work?”
Roshun Holloway, 27, got the news after waiting more than two hours for a bus to take him home after a night shift working security.
“I’d be mad, too,” Holloway said of drivers reluctant to drive. “People get on the bus without a mask, coughing. If they would gave a forewarning on the news the night before or something like that … it would have been better.”
Driver Schetrone Collier said drivers have concerns about the coronavirus pandemic that are not being addressed. They note Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that disallows more than 50 people in a gathering at a time, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that no more than 10 people gather at a time.
“I carry 75 people at a time, on a bus yesterday standing up around me. No hand sanitizer, no gloves from the department,” Collier told WDIV-TV.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Whitmer issued a sweeping order Monday banning dine-in customers at restaurants and closing all bars, movie theaters, gyms and other sports facilities to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The measure was to last through March.
Besides those restrictions, all Michigan schools are closed.
The state reported one new case of COVID-19 on Monday, a woman in Macomb County, bringing the total to 54. The uptick, smaller than in past days, appeared to be due to a change in when cases will be reported each day.
General Motors said an employee tested positive at an engineering building at its tech center in Warren, a Detroit suburb. Workers who had contact with the person with be told to self-quarantine for 14 days.
In Detroit’s public schools, all central office staff, administrators, cafeteria employees, police and security officers were to report to work during the district’s three-week classroom shutdown. All school buildings will be closed for cleaning.
The 51,000-student district will begin distributing carryout breakfast and lunch beginning Wednesday at 58 schools to students who will not be allowed to enter the buildings. Like many other districts, learning packets and online lessons also will be available.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit also is providing free “grab and go” meals to children as well as adults with special needs up to age 26.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.