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2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated April 20, 2022

On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an updated Marine Safety Information Bulletin regarding COVID-19 Safety Requirements in the Maritime Transportation System. In it, the Coast Guard stated that it will no longer enforce directives regarding mask use on public transportation and in transportation hubs. Accordingly, the Steamship Authority will no longer be requiring masks to be worn at its terminals or on its ferries. Masks are also no longer required on its shuttle buses in accordance with a similar directive issued Tuesday by the Federal Transit Administration.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we encourage and support any passengers or employees who choose to do so. Should the federal guidance on mask directives change, the Authority will adapt its policies accordingly.

This change is effective immediately, although customers will continue to see mask signage on vessels, on buses, and at terminals in the short term while we update those materials.

We thank our employees and their customers for their cooperation and assistance.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Stay up to date

• Follow us on our social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

• Sign up for our eNews: Subscribe here.

• Watch a video outlining our COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures: COVID-19 travel information.

The latest

(Please note: some of the below guidance will be updated in light of the recent cessation of the national mask directives on public transit)

• Effective January 5, 2022, the Steamship Authority has adopted an employee COVID-19 vaccination verification policy. Read the news release here

• Effective December 21, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health advises that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering when indoors and not in your own home. The DPH particularly urges this recommendation if you have a weakened immune system; if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition; or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.  

• Please check the websites of the island town(s) you plan to visit ahead of your trip to determine if an indoor mask mandate is in effect. 

• Food and beverage service is now available on selected vessels. All trips may not have concessions available, so please plan accordingly if you need something to drink or eat for your trip. Food and beverage service is not available at our terminals at this time. 

• The Nantucket/Hyannis Unaccompanied Vehicle Drive-On/Drive-Off Service as resumed. The service has the additional requirements: 

  • Any customer qualifying for driver’s services must fill out a wellness questionnaire.
    • If they do not fill out the questionnaire, they cannot use driver’s services.
    • If they answer "yes" to any of the questions, they cannot use driver’s services.
  • The driver is responsible for the cleanliness of their vehicle.
    • If the vehicle is overly dirty, the service can be denied.
    • A kiosk will be available where customers can get wipes to disinfect their vehicles.
  • All SSA employees getting into these vehicles will be wearing gloves and a mask at all times.
  • SSA employees will wipe down steering wheels, shifts, door handles and keys prior to and after driving any vehicles.
For additional information about the Drive-On/Drive-Off Service, please visit www.steamshipauthority.com/reservations/fares.

 Please follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for travel during COVID-19, which state: 
  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people.
  • During travel, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations and requirements, including mask wearing and social distancing.
For the full guidelines, please click here: Domestic Travel During COVID-19. 

What are we doing?

With the news surrounding on the spread of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, changing at such a rapid pace, it is important to us at the Steamship Authority that we make it clear what steps we are taking on our No. 1 priority, ensuring the safety of our passengers and our crews.

Our crews already do an outstanding job of cleaning our vessel interiors in between trips, but we have instructed them, along with our bus, parking lot and terminal employees, to specifically disinfect all hand railings, table tops, door handles, seats, faucets, and toilets both in between trips and during trips as needed. We are well-stocked with cleaning supplies and have ordered extra hand sanitizers and other supplies for our customers to use while traveling with us.

We have put information on best practices regarding health measures on our internal Learning Management System for our employees. We also instructed our employees to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. And, most importantly, we have told them that under no circumstances should they be coming to work while they are sick, both for their safety as well as the safety of the crew. If any employee comes to work sick, they will be sent home – period. Even if it means having to cancel a scheduled trip, the risk is too great to take.

What can you do?

First, if you are traveling with a vehicle, please feel free to stay in your vehicle for as much of your trip as possible. 

If you are traveling without a vehicle, we encourage our passengers to spread out while sitting on board to maintain a safe distance from each other. The use of masks is required while traveling in interior areas of the vessels.

Please take advantage of our handwashing stations in the restrooms and our hand sanitizers throughout the vessels. Staying clean is key to staying healthy.

Please continue to check our website for updates, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages, our eNews and local media outlets. We will keep everyone informed of any changes that are planned so that our customers can continue to get where they need to go with as minimal a disruption as possible.

Most of all, thank you. We know the incredible stress everyone is under and we will do everything possible to get you where you need to go.

Detailed information about the Coronavirus can be found on the CDC website and the World Health Organization (WHO) CDC also provides information regarding Travel Health Notices.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has also developed a webpage with information on the virus.

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