From Monday 13 July 2020, all customers on Wightlink’s Portsmouth-Fishbourne route will be asked to leave their vehicles after embarkation and spend the journey in the passenger lounges or outside sundecks.
Everyone over the age of 11 will have to wear face coverings during the journey as this is a legal requirement on public transport.
Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “We made the decision to ask customers to vacate their vehicles because our spacious passenger lounges are the safest and most comfortable places for people to stay during their crossing.
“More people are now crossing the Solent with Wightlink following the Government’s relaxation of non-essential travel and need to use the lounge facilities onboard.”
“Wightlink has operated ferries on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route throughout the pandemic and staff have extensive experience in operating safely. There is plenty of room in our lounges for customers to find a place to sit while keeping a social distance from other people. Cafés will be open on most sailings and you’re allowed to take off your face covering to eat and drink.
“Ships are cleaned frequently and to high standards, hand sanitisers are available and there are facilities for customers to wash their hands in all internal passenger lounges.”
Wightlink has been awarded the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark by VisitBritain. It shows the company complies with all Government and public health guidance and has carried out the necessary risk assessments.
The agreement with Wightlink’s regulator, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to allow people to stay in their cars was made on a temporary basis, and on account of low passenger numbers at the beginning of the pandemic. This has now changed. When Wightlink’s Lymington-Yarmouth route resumes on Friday 17 July, passengers will also vacate their vehicles after embarkation and spend the crossing in the lounges.
As capacity on board Wightlink’s ships has been reduced to allow social distancing, foot passengers must book their tickets online in advance if they want to be sure of travelling on their chosen sailing.