Washington State Ferries is warning drivers that there may be long waits for travelers who are driving aboard state ferries over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.Ferries on some routes are still …
Washington State Ferries is warning drivers that there may be long waits for travelers who are driving aboard state ferries over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.Ferries on some routes are still operating on reduced sailing schedules due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
WSF said the busiest sailings will likely be heading westbound Thursday, July 2, then eastbound Sunday, July 5, as travelers come back from their Independence Day getaways.
The busiest sailings will likely be in the westbound direction Thursday, July 2, then eastbound Sunday, July 5, as travelers return from their Independence Day getaways.
WSF also said it's having trouble keeping ferries properly staffed.
The agency has more than 100 high-risk employees unavailable to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that shortage has made crewing the vessels a challenge.
Due to a lack of crew members needed to meet Coast Guard safety requirements, WSF said this week there have been additional schedule reductions over the past few weekends.
“We might be forced to make future temporary adjustments because of lack of crew, but pledge to provide as much advance notice as we can,” said Amy Scarton, head of WSF.
“I know how service changes can be frustrating, especially for communities that rely on us as a vital link to the mainland," Scarton said in a message Tuesday to travelers. "I ask for your patience during this difficult time, when most counties remain under directives to travel for essential purposes only.”
Because of the coronavirus, WSF also noted that customers who board a state ferry in a vehicle are strongly encouraged to remain in the vehicle throughout the sailing if possible.
A face covering and proper physical distancing are highly recommended for all walk-on passengers, officials said, and to maintain physical-distancing standards, if necessary, WSF will enforce reduced occupancy on sailings for walk-on passengers.