A ferry service between Exmouth and Starcross has split opinion after making face masks compulsory for passengers, including those medically exempt.
Alex Davis www.devonlive.com
The ferry made the announcement yesterday (July 18) on its Facebook page, stating that the ferry would be too small to accommodate those without masks
The post read: “All customers please take note from Monday 19th we are sticking to the face coverings rules which we have been running.”
“We did ask our passengers on Facebook what they would prefer and it come back keep the face coverings. With the social distancing rules change there will be lots of people sitting next to each other. So for everyone’s safety face masks or face covers must be worn by all passengers 6 years and over.”
“We are very sorry for people who can’t wear face masks. This is for everyone’s safety both crew and passengers.”
As of July 19, most legal restrictions have come to an end, including social distancing and social contact restrictions. Despite this, many businesses are still urging customers to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces.
Some commenters responded to the post, saying the company had made the right decision.
One commenter said: “Great idea, fully support. If people don’t like the cloth face coverings, they can always use the plastic visor type. Have you ever thought of standing for PM? Asking for a friend…..”
Another said: “Totally support your right to do this. Haven’t been on the ferry for a year but looking forward to joining you soon.”
While many commenters approved of the decision, many comments questioned why medically-exempt passengers wouldn’t be allowed to board without a covering.
One commenter asked: “So you will be discriminating against disabled people?”
Another said: “Appalling isn’t it. Discrimination against the disabled or those with underlying health issues.”
Starcross-Exmouth Ferry responded to these comments, saying: “We have been very busy and we haven’t got the space to put people without a mask.”
They added: “We are a private company trying to keep people safe. Just because your exempt what gives you the rights to do what you like. We do carry lots of exempt people who don’t mind sitting down for 15 minutes or so with a face covering.”
“We can’t take people in wheelchairs because they can’t get to us in the first place. There is a footbridge over the railway and steps at the end of the pier we land on.”