• Ayrshire Daily News

CalMac urges passengers to wear face coverings after avoiding the rules

As cases of covid continue to rise in Scotland, CalMac passengers are being urged to comply with regulations and wear face coverings when travelling on ferries.

The ferry service is experiencing regular disruptions due to crew members testing positive and the public must stick to Scottish Government rules and play their part in stopping the spread. Passenger compliance with this law on board ferries has now dropped to less than 50%, despite the efforts of CalMac staff. Scottish Government rules state that on public transport people must by law wear a face covering, unless exempt. Services to and from Mull and Arran were cancelled recently after crew members tested positive, while port staff from Kennacraig and Mull had to be drafted into Oban for the same reason. When a staff member tests positive, close contacts also must be withdrawn from service until a negative test is returned. This is in line with Government's rules on isolation. Every case identified on board a ferry also results in that vessel having to be removed to undergo a deep clean by a specialist cleaning company. Robbie Drummond, Managing Director of CalMac, said: "Please wear a face covering when travelling with CalMac, either on board or inside one of our port offices, unless exempt. This helps to protect everyone, including other passengers and crew members. "Vehicle traffic is heading back towards normal levels and on some routes higher than the records set in 2019, such as on the Oban-Colonsay route. During 1-27 August we carried 163,500 cars which is only 3% down on 2019 and 6,400 commercial vehicles which is an increase of 4% on 2019. "The service can be severely disrupted if a crew member tests positive. Sailings are having to be cancelled due to a lack of crew when they require to be tested, and time must also be spent having vessels cleaned. "Enforcing the law is a matter for the police but please respect CalMac crew and wear a face covering when asked to do so. You will be helping to protect people's health as well as lifeline ferry services."