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Take Transit Only If Necessary, TriMet says

Police hope to gain voluntary compliance during crisis

Michael Leighton | 3/23/2020, 4:09 p.m.
As residents are ordered to stay home and minimize travel in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) ...
TriMet continues run buses and trains during the coronavirus pandemic, but only wants people to take transit if necessary in order to slow the spread of the disease. By keeping service going, TriMet wants to make space for medical staff, first responders and other essential staff that serve the community and count on TriMet to get where they need to go. (Photo by Tim Adams/Wikipedia Commons)

As residents are ordered to stay home and minimize travel in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, TriMet Monday asked people to take transit only if necessary, while Portland police said they hope to gain voluntary compliance with Gov. Kate Brown’s latest order for residents to stay at home to the most extent possible.

According to Police Chief Jami Resch, Portland police officers will attempt to educate violators of the governor’s order to practice social isolation to prevent spreading the virus, in accordance with a six-foot social distancing guideline, and every effort will be made to gain voluntary compliance and provide a warning before issuing a citation.

If community members do not adhere to the officer's direction, they will be subject to a criminal misdemeanor, Resch said Monday. If businesses are not in compliance, they will also be provided a warning and opportunity to get in compliance.

It is imperative for community members to refrain from calling 9-1-1 and overloading the emergency system with non-emergency calls for service, Resch said. Police officers and other first responders are needed to respond to emergency life-safety calls as a priority.

TriMet issued guidelines Monday for people to avoid unnecessary trips on transit, saying the system needs to help make space for the medical staff, first responders and other essential staff that serves the community who count on TriMet to get where they need to go. Those who must ride during this time should maintain six feet of distance from other riders and the operator.

TriMet will continue to run, as public transit is considered an essential service, even during a time of crisis, officials said. While TriMet has been able to maintain service levels since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, official said they are making plans to reduce service in the coming days. Check with trimet.org/alerts for the latest schedule changes.