PSTA cancels public meetings through mid-April amid virus outbreak

Transit routes will still be available.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is canceling all of its public meetings and board meetings until April 14, the agency announced Monday.

The agency is responding to recommendations at the state and federal level to avoid large gatherings of people as social distancing becomes the standard for mitigating the spread of coronavirus.

PSTA will remain open and transit routes and services will still be available for the traveling public.

The agency is employing cleaning and sanitizing measures on its vehicles to prevent possible spread on buses and other transit vehicles.

Health officials continue to advise individuals to ensure proper hygiene as the most effective preventive measure. That includes frequent hand washing using soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is also recommended in situations where hand washing is not available.

So far, 155 coronavirus cases have been reported in Florida including 18 nonresidents diagnosed in the state. Four people have died of the virus in Florida so far, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Four cases have been identified in Pinellas County, all men between the ages of 58 and 67. Two of the cases were travel-related.

PSTA’s transit routes service all of Pinellas County and include a handful of routes taking riders to Tampa.

Health officials are recommending individuals avoid public gatherings as much as possible. All public K-12 schools in the state are closed for two weeks and workers are encouraged to work from home where possible, which should reduce the need for travel, including by bus.

Those who have access to private transportation are encouraged to use that instead of public transportation to avoid possible contact with infected individuals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday issued nationwide guidance to cancel any gatherings including 50 or more individuals. That guidance has prompted consideration including by Gov. Ron DeSantis to limit crowds at bars and restaurants. DeSantis is considering recommending restaurants reduce capacity by half, though he has not yet said he thinks bars and restaurants should close to diners and imbibers entirely.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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