Our shared knowledge and response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to demand patience and diligence. MTD remains focused on serving our community in the safest way possible. This timeline is updated periodically so you may follow MTD’s response to the pandemic, as well as steps taken by our local entities, the State of Illinois, and Federal government.
20th Wipe Down Vehicles
To respond to cold and flu season, as well as increasing cases of COVID-19, MTD’s Maintenance Department begins wiping down all vehicles’ high touch surfaces nightly.
28th Electrostatic Sprayers
Electrostatic sprayers and Husky 814 are put in use to disinfect the entire MTD fleet including C-CARTS vans. Buses are sanitized at least twice per week and all vans are sanitized at least once per day.
2nd Hand Sanitizer Distribution
Facilities and Maintenance Departments increase purchasing and accessibility of gallon hand sanitizer to employees and visitors across facilities.
12th Schools Go Remote
Course changes at the University of Illinois, Parkland College, Champaign Unit 4, and Urbana District 116 take students from in-person instruction to remote learning.
13th National Emergency
President Trump declares a national emergency to free up $50 billion in Federal resources to combat the coronavirus. The US Department of Transportation announces increases in funding flexibility to help transit agencies respond. Governor Pritzker’s announces closure of public schools through March 30.
15th First COVID-19 Case in Champaign County
First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Champaign County. MTD introduces a Sick Bank to respond to employees and household members affected by COVID-19 and school/day care closures.
16th COVID-19 Page on MTD.org
Dedicated COVID-19 page is published on mtd.org to collect MTD Pulse articles on the District’s response as well as to share community resources.
17th MTD Suspends Fare Enforcement
MTD discontinues fare enforcement to encourage social distancing by eliminating the exchange of cash, coin, and transfer.
18th Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) is signed into law and provides supplemental appropriations to nutrition and food assistance programs, establishes federal paid sick leave and child care benefits, expands unemployment benefits and provides grants to states for processing and paying unemployment claims, establishes requirements for providing coronavirus diagnostic testing at no cost, and other provisions.
18th Social Distancing at Illinois Terminal
MTD begins operating with Illinois Terminal Customer Service gate partially closed to encourage social distancing. Eliminates the sale of Monthly and Annual Passes, as well as new or renewed DASH Cards. MTD’s Maintenance and Safety & Training (803 E University Ave, Urbana) and the Administration & Operations (1101 E University Ave, Urbana) facilities are closed to the public except for deliveries essential for operation.
19th MTD Continues non-UI Schedule
MTD announces continuation of non-UI reduced service schedule as well as upgrading of vehicle size assignments to encourage social distancing (across all services), as well as the addition of runs to accommodate back up buses to respond to in-service routes experiencing high passenger loads.
20th Stay at Home Order
Governor Pritzker’s “Stay at Home” Executive Order is announced as well as extended closures for local schools and Parkland College to April 7. Laminated signs are placed on fareboxes to alert passengers that fare is not required as well as to remind riders of healthy behaviors.
25th Rear Door Boarding
MTD begins boarding through the rear door to promote social distancing. Laminated signs are placed on each bus, at each door, to inform riders. A special message is also uploaded to the electronic destination signs.
26th MTD Shuttles UI Housing Residents
MTD answers the University of Illinois’ request to shuttle students who are being relocated to consolidate University Housing residents.
27th CARES Act
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law and providing many things including $25 billion to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
31st Stay at Home Order Extension
Governor Pritzker announces the extension of the Stay at Home Order through April 30. The extension also keeps public schools closed.
1st Additional Safety Measures
Updated informational signs on sandwich boards are posted in Illinois Terminal along with signs to promote social distancing when waiting for Amtrak and Greyhound. Illinois Terminal employees begin to clean the high-touch surfaces, ex. passenger stanchions, of the 2 Red and 50 Green to respond to the assignment of respiratory clinics for Carle and Christie at their locations on Myra Ridge & Windsor. Masks are also made available on these trips for Operators to offer to passengers exhibiting symptoms. An updated Sick Bank is made available for employees to respond to the introduction of Federal Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family Medical Leave for childcare as a result of the CARES Act.
6th Cleaning Crews
MTD begins scheduling “Pit Crews” of Trainees and Operators at various transfer points to clean the stanchions, door handles, and other high tough areas of each bus as they pull in. Federal/CDC guidelines are updated to recommend mask wearing in public to avoid spread of the virus.
7th Buses to Douglass Community Center
MTD begins sending a backup bus daily to the Douglass Community Center in Champaign to respond to a large shelter release of visitors each morning.
13th Signage at Illinois Terminal
MTD’s Illinois Terminal installs laminated signs on seating areas on the first and second floors to help educate and encourage adequate social distancing.
15th Thank MTD Superheros
“Thanks MTD Superheroes!” signs are placed at MTD’s Illinois Terminal, Maintenance and Safety & Training, and Administration and Operations Facilities to draw awareness to passersby of the essential workforce MTD employs as well as to appreciate employees.
17th Schools Close for Remainder of Year
Governor Pritzker announces the closure of Illinois’ schools for the rest of the scheduled school year.
19th FTA Reimbursement
FTA waives remaining local share requirement for Urbanized Area Formula Grants (5307) and Rural Area Formula Grants (5311) for coronavirus-related expenses. Federal reimbursement for qualifying expenses will be 100%.
22nd Employee Cloth Mask Distribution
Multiple reusable cloth masks are distributed to all MTD employees.
24th Fourth Stimulus Bill
The fourth Federal stimulus bill, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, is signed into law and provides $484 billion for small businesses and funding for healthcare-related impacts and supplies. Governor Pritzker extends the Stay at Home order through May 30. Some non-essential businesses are allowed to reopen. Recommendations of wearing masks or face coverings in public when social distancing cannot be achieved are stressed.
24th 100 Cases in Champaign County
Over 100 cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in Champaign County.
28th National Superhero Day
National Superheroes Day: Marvel Comics created the holiday to let fans celebrate their favorite superheroes, but MTD celebrated our favorites – our employees. MTD gave employees a “free jeans day” and the option to wear their favorite superhero attire. At exactly 7:40 am, again at 10:14 am (with Amtrak's incoming train), and at 5:00 pm, MTD vehicles were heard “Honking for Heroes.” District vehicles stopped at Illinois Terminal and Lincoln Square issued two consecutive one-second honks to honor all local superheroes. Friends, family, and off duty employees also came to lend their supporting honks in the Illinois Terminal parking lot.
28th PSAs on Buses
Three different public service audio announcements on COVID-19 are deployed across MTD’s service area at major transfer points and busy stops (11 in total). The announcements read:
- face when travelling in public.
- Per Executive Order, only essential travel is permitted during this time.
- Look around and please maintain six feet between yourself and others.
5th Masks for Passengers
Individually bagged masks are made available to customers who are riding or visiting MTD’s Illinois Terminal without a face covering.
17th Sumer Service Begins
Reduced Summer Non-UI Service begins as scheduled thanks to many employees cancelling vacation time and increasing availability.
24th 500 Cases in Champaign County
Over 500 cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in Champaign County.
29th Illinois Reopening - Phase 3
Governor Pritzker authorizes the state to move into Phase Three of the Restore Illinois Plan.
2nd USD Food Delivery
MTD begins food delivery for Urbana School District #116. Six vans are deployed Monday through Thursday, loaded with coolers of food, and dispatched to six different communities for distribution.
12th 1000 Cases in Champaign County
Over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in Champaign County.
24th IEMA Extends Public Health Emergency
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) extends the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency 90 days. The original end date was July 24.
1st Hand Sanitizer on Vehicles
Installation of hand sanitizer dispensers on MTD’s vehicles begins. With delivery of entire order, every vehicle in will have at least one hand sanitizer dispenser on board.