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Downeast bus extends service suspension after more employees test positive for COVID-19

The year-round bus service between Bar Harbor, Ellsworth, Bangor, and several other Downeast communities, has been suspended until Nov. 23
Credit: Photo: Downeast Transportation via Facebook

TRENTON, MAINE, Maine — The Downeast bus service has suspended services until Monday, Nov. 23.

Bus service was initially only suspended to Monday, Nov. 16, but has since been extended, according to Downeast Transportation Executive Director Paul Murphy, as more people associated with the bus service have tested positive.

According to Murphy, the initial employee who tested positive is a bus driver. Murphy tells NEWS CENTER Maine another employee and a passenger have tested positive, leading to extended suspended service. 

Murphy also says another employee reported having symptoms over the weekend, and are awaiting results. 

Service has been suspended since Nov. 6.

Murphy said they've been in contact with the Maine CDC about the positive case and are taking the necessary steps to curtail the spread, such as suspending service and disinfecting all facilities. 

Reopening on Nov. 23 would mark more than a full incubation period (14 days) from the initial case, which was reported on Nov. 6. 


Nov. 11, 2020

"This driver drives several different routes during the day including a Jackson Lab commuter route and between Ellsworth and Bar Harbor in the middle of the day,” Murphy told the Mount Desert Islander. “We’ve been really careful, and we’ve been fortunate until now.”

Murphy says although the Maine CDC does not require them to suspend service, they are taking this action "out of an abundance of caution."

Murphy said all members of the public who may have been in close contact with the positive employee have been notified, and all buses and facilities at the Acadia Gateway Center in Trenton will be "thoroughly disinfected and cleaned during the service suspension.” 

In light of the pandemic, all passengers have been required to wear face coverings while riding buses since April, and there has been a policy of one passenger per seat. 

According to the Islander, Downeast Transportation has been carrying an average of about 60 passengers a day this fall.

The 2020 Island Explorer season, which offers 10 bus routes in Acadia National Park and surrounding campgrounds and neighboring village centers in the summer and fall, was postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Murphy did not immediately respond to NEWS CENTER Maine's request for comment.

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