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Paul Wiedefeld: Metro reduces rail, bus schedules due to coronavirus

Metro announces a significantly reduced schedule for rail and bus for the week of March 23 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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“Metro will do everything we can to protect the everyday heroes who are driving buses, running trains, monitoring stations and helping people with disabilities, ” said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld in a press release. “Our frontline colleagues make a choice each day to leave their homes at a time of great anxiety and uncertainty. They do it out of a sense of duty – and to support this community. In turn, I ask the community to support them by staying home.”

Metro has been telling the public to only use public transit for essential trops for the last nine days.

Smithsonian and Arlington National cemetery metro stations will be closed until further notice to discourage people from travelling for non-essential rides like visiting the cherry blossoms.

Trains will operate every 20 minutes on all lines, except for the red line which will operate every 15.

Buses will run on a modified Sunday schedule.

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Too many people continue to use Metrobus for non-essential trips, and if that continues, Metro said it will suspend all bus routes to protect public health.

As of Sunday night, the region has recorded eight deaths and almost 600 positive cases of COVID-19, with 116 in the District, 219 in Virginia and 244 in Maryland.

Businesses, schools, public buildings and parks are closed across the region in an effort to promote social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the public health emergency to at least April 25, meaning the ban on mass gatherings of 50 people or more will last until then and schools, restaurants and bars, public playgrounds, libraries will remain closed until then.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been less aggressive, closing schools until March 27 and allowing businesses to stay open so long as they only permit 10 customers in at a time.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has placed an indefinite ban on mass gatherings of 10 people or more, he closed malls, restaurants and bars, casinos, and he postponed the April 28 primary. Schools are to be closed at least until March 27.

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