Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
The Gozo Channel ferries are currently being disinfected once a week, but as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise, the ferry operator may increase the frequency of disinfection in the coming days.
Newsbook.com.mt spoke to Gozo Channel chairman Joe Cordina, who said that a decision on the matter was pending in light of the Covid-19 spike. The company had been disinfecting its ferries daily when the pandemic reached Malta, but as the number of active cases fell to a trickle, the policy was changed.
Now that cases are on the increase again, Cordina acknowledged that precautions should be increased: though he emphasised that this should happen across the country, not just on the ferries.
Poor enforcement on facemasks
Ferry workers who spoke to Newsbook.com.mt acknowledged that they were feeling uncomfortable on the job as they were not too confident about the precautions being taken.
But they also flagged another concern: the lack of enforcement when it comes to facemasks. Though the use of facemasks remains obligatory, many choose to ignore the rule.
The issue had come to a head two weeks ago, when a chief officer on one of the ferries was attacked by a group of men as he sought to enforce the wearing of facemasks. Back then, Cordina had urged the public to continue wearing the masks, and appealed to the government to help in the enforcement of the rule.
Another argument on the use of facemasks was reported just three days later on the car queue, delaying a Malta-bound ferry by some 20 minutes.
Ferry travel during the pandemic
- 8 March: Hand sanitiser dispensers are installed, and all doors within the ferry are kept open as a precaution.
- 12 March: The daily disinfection of ferries starts.
- 13 March: The temperature of all passengers starts being screened.
- 13 March: Pleasure boats are banned from docking in Gozo, leaving the Gozo Channel as the sole means of transport between the two islands.
- 14 March: A man enters the ferry in spite of registering a feedback, and ends up escorted off by the police.
- 18 March: As passenger traffic between the two islands falls, Gozo Channel decreases the frequency of trips.
- 31 March: Non-essential travel between Malta and Gozo is banned.
- 2 April: Gozitans commuting to Malta for work are asked to apply for a permit to travel.
- 11 April: In just two days, 500 cars are prevented from crossing between Malta and Gozo.
- 21 April: The Nikolaos, leased to serve as Gozo Channel’s fourth ferry, is taken out of service for 2 months..
- 4 May: Non-essential travel between Malta and Gozo resumes.
- 25 May: The frequency of ferry trips increases to handle increased traffic.
- 28 May: Temperature screening of passengers ends.
- 1 July: Gozo Channel launches a full summer schedule.