(SCOTLAND) #Coronavirus Report: Ferry operator CalMac has appealed to passengers to heed advice on wearing face coverings after multiple sailings were disrupted by #COVID19 cases #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Sept.09: Masks must be worn indoors on ferries, but CalMac said compliance had dropped from 95% to almost 50% on some routes: Managing director Robbie Drummond said in 10 of the past 31 days sailings on the west coast network had been affected by positive cases: Cases mean crew members having to self isolate and a deep clean of ferries…..

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says ferry passengers avoiding masks despite #Covid19 surge actually enforcing the rule appears to be difficult though.Scotrail says it is not the role of its staff to actually enforce the rule and there is anecdotal evidence that the number of passengers who are wearing a mask is slipping these are the figures from yesterday below…..

Some Calmac staff have certainly been heard reminding customers they should wear a mask but again it is difficult to see what they may be able to do in practice if a passenger either claims they are exempt – even if they don’t have a lanyard – or simply takes the mask off again later: Mr Drummond said the majority of people complied when asked to put on a mask.

Getty Images: CalMac says passenger numbers have been rising to almost the record levels seen in 2019

CalMac runs more than 30 boats to over 50 ports and harbours, which are located in the Western Isles, Inner Hebrides, Highlands, Ayrshire and Argyll and Bute.

Services had been drastically reduced due to the pandemic, but following the relaxation of Covid rules earlier this year passenger numbers have rebounded to almost the record levels seen in 2019.

To protect customers and crew from infection, face coverings are mandatory indoors on ferries unless a person is exempt.

Mr Drummond told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme there were concerns about a growing number of people failing to comply with the measure.

He said that while it was not certain how Covid was being brought on board ferries, the wearing of face coverings helped to reduce the risk.

Mr Drummond said: “We are doing everything we can to inform passengers in emails, posters at ports, frequent messages on board, but we don’t have enforcement powers.

“Our staff are regularly reminding passengers to use face coverings.”

The rules on facemasks haven’t changed but there are growing suggestions that compliance is slipping.In Scotland they should still be worn in public transport and in shops unless someone has an exemption: This might be on medical grounds or because of a disability. Some disabilities are hidden……………………Unless sanctions can be imposed, the law on facemasks effectively relies on people willingly complying because they believe it is the right thing to do.The worry must be that if compliance were to drop to low levels, a rule designed to help protect the public and contain Covid could end up being counterproductive.Should wearing a mask still be required by law? Or should the issue simply be one of personal responsibility and public health guidance as in England? Or will the relatively high level of cases just now simply prompt more to wear a mask?RULES: What are the restrictions in your area?EASING: What rules are changing, and when?CASES: Where are the latest cases in Scotland?WHO? The people who have died with Covid-19

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#ferries, #scotland, #scotrail