CORONAVIRUS

Suspension of Cedar Rapids Transit services extended through May 15; golf courses, disc golf reopened

A Cedar Rapids Transit bus driver wearing a mask and gloves sits in his vehicle at the Ground Transportation Center in s
A Cedar Rapids Transit bus driver wearing a mask and gloves sits in his vehicle at the Ground Transportation Center in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Monday, March 23, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The shutdown of Cedar Rapids Transit has been extended through May 15 to help limit the spread of COVID-19, and two golf courses and disc golf courses are reopening after Linn County was downgraded from a 10 to a 9 on the governor’s coronavirus matrix last week.

Bus service ended March 25, a decision officials said was difficult because of the number of people who are dependent on public transit as their only means of transportation.

Neighborhood Transportation Service at Horizons will continue to provide daytime rides to work for those with critical employment transportation needs, including people who work at hospitals, grocery stores, care facilities, convenience stores and gas stations.

“NTS is doing a wonderful job taking the resources they have and providing those critical transportation opportunities,” Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said.

To schedule a ride, call (319) 363-1321 at least 24 hours in advance. For more information about NTS, visit horizonsfamily.org.

City bus ridership was down 70 percent from normal before the city suspended services in March. While staff regularly sanitized buses and limited the number of riders to 10 at a time, officials decided to suspend services to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Golf courses

Gardner Golf Course and Ellis Golf Course in Cedar Rapids will reopen in May.

Gardner will open Friday, May 1, and Ellis will open Monday, May 4. Both driving ranges and courses will be open. Tee times are required.

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While walking on the courses is encouraged, golf carts will be available but limited to one person only, Pomeranz said. Carts will be disinfected after each use. The clubhouse will be used for check-in and packaged food purchases only.

“We want to make sure everyone knows we’re taking this very seriously — the distancing, the encouragement of walking, the disinfecting — all those in order to have a safe environment,” Pomeranz said.

He said the city decided to open two golf courses instead of just one because officials think that will help maintain social distancing.

Buildings remain closed

The city extended building closures until May 15. Closed facilities include City Hall, City Services Center, Water Administration Building, Central Fire Station, Animal Care & Control, Cedar Rapids Police Station, Ground Transportation Center, Northwest Recreation Center and Bender Pool.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library remains closed until further notice.

City parks

While officials encourage people to explore public parks, restrooms remain closed.

Cedar Rapids City Council member Ann Poe said she frequently gets questions from people asking when park restrooms will reopen.

“I encourage people to go out and walk in our parks and please have patience to understand that monitoring our restrooms at this time is very difficult and not something we are quick to do as a city. Be prepared when you use our parks. Our restrooms will not be open,” she said.

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

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