WIGHTLINK are planning to lay on extra ferries between Lymington and Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight due to an expected increase in demand as the service restarts on Friday.
The company said that with more people holidaying in the UK this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it intended to introduce more sailings for weekend passengers.
There will be another four round trips on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Safety measures including hand sanitisers will be available, the ferries more frequently cleaned and signage put in place to promote social distancing.
Ferries between Lymington and the island were due to resume today after being suspended at the end of March. The extra sailings will begin from next Friday.
The company reported that with the restrictions being eased it is now seeing an increase in the public wanting to use the ferries again.
Until now travellers wanting to cross the Solent had to use the Southampton-East Cowes and Portsmouth-Fishbourne crossings.
Wightlink chief executive Keith Greenfield said: “The extra sailings will be good news for the Isle of Wight’s tourism business and offer more opportunities for islanders and mainlanders to cross the Solent.
“We are ready to welcome more customers.”
He said there will be reduced passenger capacity on the ferries so people should be able to find a seat while maintain social distancing.
Under national public transport rules, people will be required to wear face coverings.
A takeaway cafe selling hot and cold drinks and refreshments will be available on most sailings.
Wightlink announced it had been awarded the We’re Good To Go mark by VisitBritain which is given to companies complying with government and public health guidance.