What are we doing?
What is CalMac doing in response to the current COVID-19 situation?
CalMac has a full COVID-19 response team in place. We have been working to ensure our customers and staff are already responding to the latest Government instructions surrounding the current outbreak.
We work closely and frequently with Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government's Resilience Team and Health Protection Scotland to stay on top of the latest advice and guidance from Government and the country's health officials.
A coordinated approach is vital to help keep both our customers and our staff safe and supported.
We all need to play a role in the response to Covid-19. We are asking our customers to ensure they play their part by ensuring they are aware of all the latest Government advice - including hand hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation before attempting to come on board any of our vessels.
Now in day to day life, to help keep each other safe, we have a set of actions we need to follow. The information and actions each and every one of us needs to follow can be found at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19
What additional health and safety precautions is CalMac taking at this time?
All of our health and safety precautions are in line with the advice of the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and Health Protection Scotland.
Our Masters now include the latest COVID-19 safety advice as part of their safety briefing before every sailing.
We wipe down all high touch surfaces every two hours with specialist cleaning equipment. This is then logged against a strict recording regime to ensure it has been completed. This does not apply to our small vessel fleet where passengers are allowed to stay in their vehicles. In fact, we are now recommending that all passengers remain in their cars when on these small vessels.
CalMac has also now ceased serving all food and drink on our vessels. All restaurants, coffee cabins, bars and shops on board our vessels are now closed.
Hand sanitiser is available in our ports and on our vessels and NHS Inform Coronavirus posters are being put up on all of our vessels and ports to remind all of our customers about the importance of regular and thorough hand hygiene.
What is the potential impact on CalMac services if you do not have enough staff to operate the vessels?
In the event that we have a number of staff unable to operate our services, CalMac will institute its Route Prioritisation Matrix, which we have previously agreed with Transport Scotland. This will see decisions being made for the whole network rather than a single route, with a view to maintaining lifeline services.
We will always try to update our customers, and the communities we serve about any necessary changes as soon as possible and we are grateful for your understanding.
Can passengers stay in their vehicles on the car deck?
Due to the Covid-19 situation the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have agreed to temporarily relax its rules on passengers being able to stay in their vehicles during some ferry journeys.
For CalMac's fleet this means that passengers can now stay in their cars when travelling from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay on a limited number of sailings and across the Sound of Harris (Berneray - Leverburgh) on all sailings. Any passengers wishing to travel this way can view the eligible sailngs on the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay and Sound of Harris (Berneray - Leverburgh) service status page.
The change does not affect any of CalMac's larger vessels where passengers are not permitted to remain in their vehicles. Currently, CalMac can only allow those passengers who are travelling in ambulances and/or are accompanied by medical staff to travel whilst on the car deck of our major vessels.
Car passengers are able to stay in their vehicles on our small ferry fleet. And we are recommending that all passengers in vehicles on our small fleet do so at this stage.
Will CalMac screen passengers for temperature or illness before boarding?
No. Such screening would need to be organised and deployed via the NHS or Health Protection Scotland, and at this time there are no such plans to set up testing hubs at our terminals.
Screening passengers and individuals is a specialist medical skill. CalMac staff do not possess the specific expertise necessary to carry out screenings, and we do not possess the necessary equipment. Making decisions about who can and who cannot travel is a complex matter where the NHS, Health Protection Scotland or another third-party authority would need to be involved.
Every one of us does need to play our role in responding to Covid-19, and we would ask our passengers to follow all the advice at the NHS before traveling on our ferries: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19
In addition, as of 22 March 2020, ferry travel across Scotland must also only be for essential travel.
Do you still accept cash?
No. We will be stopping taking cash on our ferries and at ports in response to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic from Saturday 28 March 2020.
The World Health Organisation has advised against cash handling. Travellers, who should only be making essential journeys on the ferries in line with strict Government guidelines, can either pay by card, or Apple Pay or Google Pay where accepted.