Salem transit shuts down, staff report having COVID-19


Services will be suspended starting Tuesday, March 31

Cherriots Bus. (Courtesy

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Salem’s public transit system is shutting down until further notice, noting staffing shortages, including seven employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Salem Area Mass Transit District, known as Cherriots, has halted all local and regional services, effective Tuesday, March 31. In a statement, the public transit service said the closure was to “further support the Governor’s executive order (Executive Order 20-12) requiring social distancing in order to help flatten the curve.” However, Cherriots has also experienced significant staffing shortages due to the pandemic. Seven staff members have reportedly contracted COVID-19.

Remaining staff have been placed on temporary leave, and some administrative staff members will be working remotely, according to Cherriots. During the suspension, all of the district’s buses and buildings will be cleaned.

The transit district’s paratransit service, Cherriots LIFT, will continue to “provide life-sustaining trips only.”

“Executive leadership will continue to meet daily to develop a plan that will safely restore public transportation service to Marion and Polk counties,” Cherriots said in a statement.

In an additional response to the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Salem has temporarily suspended both the three-hour parking time limit downtown, and fees at meters.

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