POLK COUNTY — Cherriots in a news release Thursday said they expect service to be reduced as early as Friday because of staffing issues.

"We will reduce frequency on some routes before cutting routes altogether," the release states.

They are asking riders to only ride the bus for critical trips, such as those to grocery stores, to work at the hospital or to pick up prescriptions.

"Unless you have a critical need, please stay home," the release states.

All services are free and all Cherriots local buses are loading passengers through the back door unless riders need the ramp or priority seating.

Front seats are taped off to create space between the riders and the driver.

"We're continuing to clean every bus every night and wiping down high-touch areas both on vehicles and in buildings," the release states. "We're doing everything we can to keep staff healthy so we can continue to operate."

The March 26 board work session and meeting are canceled.

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