A person waits for the bus in Pickering Square on April 6. Social distancing due to the COVID-19 outbreak significantly reduced traffic in downtown Bangor.

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No more than 10 passengers at one time will be allowed on Bangor-area buses in order to improve social distancing measures, city transportation officials said Tuesday. The new rules, designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, went into effect immediately.

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Passengers who board a Community Connector bus or buses in other cities must be traveling to an essential business for work, a grocery store to buy necessary items or a medical appointment, according to a stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Janet Mills.

The bus that travels from Bangor to Hampden and back does stop near the coronavirus testing site located in the parking lot of Bass Park. Patients must have appointments to be tested.

Riders on all buses must stay 6 feet away from other passengers. Those who violate the rules may be prosecuted and face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 as could people who do not follow other provisions in the governor’s order.

The Greater Portland Metro implemented the same restrictions for bus riders last week. Other public transportation systems in Maine are allowing only half the number of passengers a bus can seat and are strongly encouraging social distancing.

The Downtown Area Shuttle that serves Belfast and Rockland is limiting service to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on request.

Updates on changes in service will be posted on the bus systems’ Facebook pages.

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