UPDATED: CROSS-SOLENT OPERATORS SAY FACE MASKS WILL STILL NEED TO BE WORN

Cross-Solent ferry operators have announced that passengers will still need to wear face coverings when travelling, despite legal restrictions being lifted on Monday.

From Monday, the Government has said that those living in England will no longer need to wear face coverings, with social distancing and other restrictions finally lifted.

However, Hovertravel and Wightlink have said that they will be enforcing the use of masks until further notice. Red Funnel are also understood to be following this stance.

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Passengers are also being encouraged to respect social distancing, even though social distancing ceases to exist from Monday.

Wightlink’s Fleet and Operations Director John Burrows says:

“Although increasing numbers of people are now fully vaccinated, the pandemic is still not over. We all need to take sensible precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus, despite the easing of regulations and that means everyone still needs to wear a face covering indoors, unless they are exempt. We will keep this policy under review.

“Fresh air is all important as it helps stop the spread of coronavirus. Wightlink’s passenger lounges are spacious and well-ventilated and customers can enjoy plenty of sea breezes on the outside decks.

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“All customers, including foot passengers, should book in advance to be sure of travelling on the sailing of their choice, as we expect the summer to be busy.”

Hovertravel’s Managing Director, Neil Chapman, has said that capacity will be increased but face coverings will remain for those crossing between Ryde-Southsea.

In an open letter issued today, Neil has said:

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“Whilst we recognise the law has changed, we, along with the other ferry operators and the Isle of Wight Council, will continue to ask for face coverings to be worn during your journey. We believe that this measure is an important step in safeguarding our passengers and our people.

“We have several new tickets which are designed to suit the changing nature of commuting and regular travel, plus our online Manage My Booking account facility allows customers to manage their own changes, even at the last minute. We are also extending our Hover Flexibility until 31st October 2021, giving customers the opportunity to re-book their travel to a later date, without penalty.

“Throughout the pandemic our customer community has been very supportive and all of us at Hovertravel are grateful. Now, as together we learn to live with the virus, we appreciate that some of you may have questions or need a little extra help, so please ask any member of staff for assistance at any time during your journey.

“We have to be personally responsible and consider the risks to both ourselves and others. As people start to travel more, and some may have not travelled for over a year, customers will make different choices. Please respect that and give your fellow passengers the space and time to travel in their own way, at their own pace.”

UPDATE @ 16:05 – Red Funnel has confirmed it will also require passengers to continuing wearing face masks, but will be returning to normal capacity levels.

Passengers and team members should continue to wear a face covering whilst onboard Red Funnel ferries, when inside terminal spaces and whilst embarking or disembarking, unless exempt, under 11 years of age, on outside decks, or when eating/drinking.

Fran Collins, Chief Executive at Red Funnel said:

“Government guidance is clear and recommends people continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, such as public transport. The safety of passengers and our team members is our number one priority, and we continue to follow the latest government guidance.

“We trust our teams and passengers to make the right decision at the right time and expect that the vast majority will continue to wear a face covering when travelling with us.”

From Monday, Red Funnel will be returning to normal capacity on its car ferries as social distancing requirements are dropped.

The ‘stay in vehicle’ service will remain in place for passengers who are medically vulnerable or who need to self-isolate during their crossing. More information on booking this service can be found here: https://www.redfunnel.co.uk/en/isle-of-wight-ferry/faqs/covid/stay-in-vehicle/.

Perspex screens will remain in place across the business, as will contactless payments. Cash payment will be accepted ‘soon’.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
33 Comments
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Stephen
Stephen
3 months ago

I think you will find we are all exampt from the 19th

Sunshine
Sunshine
Reply to  Stephen
3 months ago

No mask, no entry onto the ferry. Simple. Ditching facemasks is totally irresponsible on the government’s part. Enclosed spaces still require a face covering. Let common sense prevail. Masks SHOULD be mandatory on all Public Transport and shops including supermarkets which can get very busy. If people are not sensible, the number of COVID infections will soar here on the island, just like it has in parts of the mainland UK and abroad.

sue Young
sue Young
Reply to  Stephen
3 months ago

As these companies are privately owned they can make any rules they want and if you refuse to comply they can refuse to allow you to travel.

Stephen
Stephen
Reply to  sue Young
3 months ago

Im not refusing
Im just stating fact we are all exempt from the 19th per government say so.

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
Reply to  Stephen
3 months ago

Ban exemptions, only the wimps plead exemption anyway, they are the same bunch who refuse vaccines as well. Anyone doesn’t comply with the “Personal Choice” better watch out.

Telling it like it is.
Telling it like it is.
Reply to  Stephen
3 months ago

The selfish brigade have been “exempt” right from the start. Arrogantly shouting their mouths off on public transport nonstop, barging into people in shops and walking the wrong way down aisles and just yesterday 2 moronic and arrogant females and one yobbish boy all went marching en masse into the small local corner shop. I wonder how any of those types can claim exemption? I guess being antisocial and aggressive makes them “exempt”! Heaven help us! Britain today!

Tony
Tony
3 months ago

How can they enforce it? Throw someone over the side?

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
Reply to  Tony
3 months ago

Have a section of the ship where all the ones who don’t care about wearing a mask are placed….. then they can all infect each other, simple.

Mandy
Mandy
3 months ago

So they let all and sundry travel over here during lockdowns, now they are expecting everyone to still wear a mask. Little bit late to be worried about a virus now.

Davimel
Davimel
Reply to  Mandy
3 months ago

Totally agree. They are the same companies who stated very loudly that Mask Wearing is a matter for the individual and they had no power to refuse them boarding… They were told many times that they could easily make it a term of service, just like carrying LPG or cans of petrol or smoking inboard and they did nothing, just like now,,, they will do NOTHING!

Rough Justice
Rough Justice
3 months ago

I really hope that Southern Vectis make the sensible decision to follow suit. -More and more people lately seem to be travelling without any face covering and no one challenges them (I’m talking about the drivers).For the past few weeks, the tannoy announcement tells passengers that they can use ALL of the seats and sit next to someone else. Surely the government advice, at present is that we should all still “social-distance” at the moment, so they’re obviously only thinking of their takings.

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
Reply to  Rough Justice
3 months ago

Yes I agree, the buses are nearly always half full of the great unwashed, so wearing a mask would be useful without Covid still with us, there will be fights and christ knows what going on in shops as well, as the ignorant wander around spreading it.

P.R.
P.R.
3 months ago

Did these rubbish virtue-signalling companies insist on masks during the flu seasons ever year for the past twenty years? No!
Now they try to take a pious stand.
It’s time to end this hysterical reaction to the government propaganda. Either the vaccines work or they don’t. There was no masks and social distancing at the G7 summit or in gropey Hancock’s office was there??

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  P.R.
3 months ago

face coverings no longer law as of monday
nothing in the terms and conditions of wightlink about wearing face coverings or no travel

therefore, personal choice, unenforceable in law and not contained in their terms – in other words – cannot be refused travel for not wearing a covering – otherwise it would be pure discrimination and likely to find theirselves in court if they do

chris donahue
chris donahue
3 months ago

Oh come on, You will die of old age waiting for the ferry before covid get you

fred
fred
Reply to  chris donahue
3 months ago

Sad but true

Ben
Ben
3 months ago

Face masks must be worn unless your watching a football match with 60,000 others

Farage-Nigel
Farage-Nigel
3 months ago

No company can enforce it if its not in the law, Makes me laugh really not once have i seen the ferry company staff on both RF and WL sanatise the handrails both pre and post sailing.

Teddy
Teddy
Reply to  Farage-Nigel
2 months ago

That’s probably because they do it pre and post sailing.

Trueblue
Trueblue
3 months ago

It’s not mandatory anymore, so ditch the face nappies

fred
fred
3 months ago

No one is enforcing it now so why do they think it’ll be followed after the restrictions are lifted. People who currently don’t put a mask on are saying to everyone else “sod you, I don’t respect you or anyone, including the staff. It’s all about me”.

Mrs T
Mrs T
3 months ago

Might it rain? I will take an umbrella. Will it be busy? I will take a mask just in case I need one. Not difficult is it. It should be personal choice.

M. G.
M. G.
3 months ago

If masks were so effective in the first place why are numbers rising so rapidly? I shall not be happy if they try to enforce something that will no longer be mandatory under law.

Sidney
Sidney
3 months ago

Isn’t it the people who don’t wear masks that are at risk, rather than the mask wearers.
So wouldn’t masks being optional make more sense?

Rough Justice
Rough Justice
Reply to  Sidney
3 months ago

No. – wearing a face covering protects others. Should you have the virus and cough or sneeze, the material contains the airborne droplets.

Sunshine
Sunshine
3 months ago

The ferry companies are trying to protect their staff from catching COVID. The virus is still out there, making some people needing hospital care and I’m talking about 20, 30 and 40 year olds. Not wearing a face covering in crowded places is totally selfish and irresponsible. Good decision Red Funnel, Wightlink and Hover Travel. Just need Southern Vectis to apply the same rule. It makes sense.

bobthebuilder
bobthebuilder
Reply to  Sunshine
3 months ago

god are we to have this for years to come …i think so…

bobthebuilder
bobthebuilder
3 months ago

did they or do they work or really make any difference??

ron
ron
3 months ago

Unfortunately from monday we are now on our own it is all about herd immunity.
Good luck to everybody, my friend has had both injections but caught the virus mildly and now has long term virus problems

Telling it like it is.
Telling it like it is.
Reply to  ron
3 months ago

Some people can’t even have the vaccine and some who have can’t build the necessary antibodies. If only the selfish brigade were the ones getting it, the do gooders who always defend them would be clamouring for responsible behaviour. But as long as those types are not the ones being affected, for the rest of us life is anxiety inducing stress and worry.

Beverley Small
Beverley Small
3 months ago

Well i shall not Travel to the Mainland for now!!
Was thinking of going over in a few weeks but i am sick to death of the forced rules by individual companies!! Also i shall not shop or go to any other establishments that make these rules!!
Not a problem for me at all!!

Tony tollbridge
Tony tollbridge
3 months ago

But you can smoke on the outside deck and give people lung cancer

White top
White top
Reply to  Tony tollbridge
3 months ago

Thought smoking and vaping was banned even outside.

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