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West coast ferry operator CalMac urges passengers to stick to rules and wear face coverings as it begins to increase services in wake of easing of Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown travel restrictions


By Philip Murray

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The MV Loch Seaforth in Stornoway.
The MV Loch Seaforth in Stornoway.

FERRY passengers have been urged to wear face coverings aboard CalMac vessels, as the transport giant begins to increase services as Scotland gradually emerges from the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown.

Face coverings are mandatory when travelling on enclosed areas inside a ferry, and on other forms of public transport.

And CalMac's director of operations, Robert Morrison, has urged the public to stick to the rules when travelling aboard the firm's vessels, and help reduce the spread of the lethal virus.

"Wearing a face covering on an enclosed area of a ferry is now mandatory with a few exceptions for medical or physical conditions," he said.

"By covering your nose and mouth you are showing that you care for other passengers and our staff, providing you with a service. I'd strongly urge passengers to abide by the new guideline and help keep our island communities safe.

"Health experts say the evidence is now clear that face coverings can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that the more people wearing them, the better."

CalMac is reinstating more sailings from today, and again from July 15, in line with the Scottish Government's decision to relax travel rules. Yesterday's opening of bookings for journeys from July 1 to 14 sparked a flood of calls to CalMac as people rushed to secure passage. The company's website also briefly crashed as internet traffic soared.

"As travel guidance changes and more people begin to sail with us again it is essential that everyone who can, follows the guidance," he continued. "By wearing a face covering you are helping to protect everyone on board travelling with you."

The firm said there had been very little spread of coronavirus across the communities served by CalMac's area of operations, and as services increase again, the company wants passengers to help keep it that way.

"We are now being told that both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of the disease are much more common than first thought. As health experts learn more about the condition they have a greater degree of certainty on the advice given, and that advice is now cover your face while on public transport."

"As it isn't always possible to tell who is infected and who isn't, a simple step such as covering your nose and mouth and staying socially distant really can help save lives."

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