Isle of Sark Shipping started passenger services again yesterday, but taking the boat to the island is more involved than before given the need for social distancing and other virus pandemic restrictions such as checking in all the passengers by name.
‘It’s good news for Sark, but it will be very challenging,’ said IoSS managing director Yan Milner.
The summer schedule has been published only as far as 14 June and a message from the company said that this was due to it being unsure of potential demand given that there are few, if any, non-Bailiwick residents here at the moment.
As a result, some days may be dropped for a period of time, while there might be more sailings on other days.
The need for social distancing on board the boats means that passenger numbers on each sailing will vary, depending on how many groups there are and how large they are.
There were not many passengers setting off yesterday afternoon but among them were Dave and Ann Shearer.
‘We’re going for a few nights to see friends,’ said Mr Shearer. ‘We usually go over a couple of times a year.’
‘We were supposed to be in Spain at the moment,’ said Mrs Shearer, ‘but at least we can say we’ve been somewhere.’
The couple have another holiday abroad planned for September, but said they were prepared to return to Sark if that did not happen.
Also waiting to board the afternoon ferry was Sarkee, artist and former Chief Pleas member Rosanne Guille and her children Esme, 10, and Ruairi Byrne, 11, with Mark Fouracre and dog Yohan.
‘Our dad lives there,’ said Esme. ‘We normally get back twice a month.’
‘We couldn’t wait to get on the boat,’ said Ms Guille, who planned to stay a couple of nights. ‘I’m looking forward to getting back and seeing family and friends.’
The family has been using video chat to keep in touch, including her 94-year-old grandmother.
As a former politician, she thought the Guernsey States was doing a good job: ‘I wouldn’t want to be in government now, though,’ she added.
‘I’ve done my time.’