Two Wightlink ferries crossing in The Solent

Isle of Wight Council statement on cross-Solent travel

Isle of Wight Council leader, Dave Stewart, said: “The government has provided a very clear message about people continuing to travel for work and medical needs, but that travel for holidays and visits should cease.

“We know that travel connections with the mainland are vital to the Island’s resilience and the wellbeing of its community at this time.

“Food, fuel, medical supplies and materials need to be maintained, as does the availability of mainland healthcare; keyworkers traveling to support the community, and for commuters travelling to and from work.

“The ferries also carry all of the goods we might purchase online while non-essential retail is closed. The Island needs to have services open for these reasons.

“The ferry operators are very active in working with the council to dissuade people from travelling that do not need to do so and this will be helped by the government’s clear guidance that people should not travel for holidays or to visit second homes.

“The ferry operators and the council are unable to police each individual reason for travel and have to rely on everyone obeying the lockdown laws.

“Additional restrictions such as temperature testing on passengers have been considered and discounted because only a Covid-19 test can determine whether a person has an infection and many people show no symptoms at all.

“We are working with the operators to understand the impact that lockdown will have on service schedules and on ensuring that we have services provided to and from the Island.”