Islanders and visitors to the area are once again being asked to travel the ‘Wight’ way as more Coronavirus restrictions are lifted this week.
The next step in the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown came into effect earlier this week, allowing two households and up to six people to reunite outdoors at a safe distance.
No long-distance travelling or overnight stays
It is important to note that the rules do not allow people to mix indoors, and there should be no long-distance travelling or overnight stays, which includes single households staying in a second home.
With the clear message from government to minimise travel, the Isle of Wight Council and its partners are continuing to work together to promote safe, responsible travel ahead of the Easter weekend, normally one of the Island’s busiest tourist seasons.
Island visitor charter
This includes relaunching the Island visitor charter — a set of simple to follow guidelines that promote good and positive behaviours expected of visitors during their stay.
The charter, which has been updated and given a fresh new look, will be displayed prominently onboard ferries and in mainland and local terminals, as well as on Southern Vectis buses (jump to charter).
Police: We will not be preventing people from travelling from one area to another
Supt Sarah Jackson, who oversees policing on the Island, said,
“We fully support the Island’s visitor charter as a way of reminding those visiting of key messages to help ensure everyone’s safety.
“We will not be preventing people from travelling from one area to another. The government guidance advises people to ‘minimise domestic travel’ — this is guidance only and will not be enforceable by the police.
“Limiting the spread of infection is a public health matter, and we will continue to work in partnership to support our health colleagues and work with businesses, government, hospitality owners, local authorities, and others to keep our communities safe.
“We will continue to maintain Covid-19 related patrols, as required, in addition to our usual resourcing. This is to address any problems that are identified to us and ensure that people are observing the restrictions that are in place at the given time to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Lifeline services to the Island
The charter has been endorsed by the Island’s cross-Solent ferry operators which have implemented strict hygiene, social distancing and other Covid-19 compliant measures to ensure people can travel in safety and comfort.
As providers of lifeline services to the Island, ferries have continued to work hard throughout the crisis to facilitate essential travel for key workers as well as ensure the flow of essential goods and services, including food and medical equipment.
Hovertravel: Travelling responsibly has been a key message
Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, said,
“Encouraging travelling responsibly has been a key message from Hovertravel throughout the pandemic, and as friends and family from our communities start to meet, we endorse the council’s charter to ‘travel the Wight way’ fully.
“We know, from operating continuously since last March, that the communities on both sides of the Solent are responsible and prepared to adapt their behaviour for the greater good.
“The ‘Wight Way’ charter shows how we all, including visitors and residents, can continue to work together towards a sustainable summer of recovery.”
Red Funnel: Safety always our top priority
Fran Collins, chief executive of Red Funnel, said,
“Safety is always our top priority. For this reason, we whole-heartedly support the visitor charter and will continue to uphold the measures we have put in place to protect our passengers and staff.
“Passengers should feel relaxed and at ease travelling with us, knowing that we continuously review government and local guidelines in accordance with our own ‘Sail Safe’ program and procedures.
“We have taken all appropriate safety measures throughout the pandemic including the implementation of PPE, increasing our cleaning schedules, making hand sanitiser widely available, filtering fresh air throughout our vessels, and reminding passengers about the legal requirement to wear face coverings. We also continue to sail with restricted passenger numbers to allow for increased social distancing.”
Wightlink: Take every measure to make sure travel is safe
Keith Greenfield, chief executive of Wightlink, added,
“Now Coronavirus infection numbers are falling, and vaccinations are well underway, we are gradually increasing ferry services in line with the easing of government restrictions.
“We can reassure Islanders we will continue to take every measure to make sure travel with Wightlink is as safe as possible.
“Our Covid cleaning regime will continue, and customers will be encouraged to respect social distancing and required to wear face coverings during their journeys.
“The passenger capacity on board our vessels remain reduced to allow plenty of space for everyone to spread out.”
VIOW: Sow the seeds of economic recovery in a safe manner
Will Myles, managing director of Visit Isle of Wight, said the well-being of residents was foremost in everyone’s mind. He said,
“Now that non-essential travel is allowed throughout the country, we aim to continue that message for visitors to the Isle of Wight and to sow the seeds of economic recovery in a safe manner.”
For all of the most up to date information and advice about Coronavirus and all of the support on offer, visit the Website.
News shared by Isle of Wight council press office, in their own words. Ed