After one crewmember tested positive for COVID-19 on the state ferry Tustumena’s second voyage of the year, the ship was returned to Homer and has been tied up ever since.
As soon as the Tusty returned, six more crewmembers were tested positive for the highly-contagious infection. When asked what further steps the Alaska Marine Highway System was going to take, Capt. John Falvey said they were going to continue to rely on their pre-sailing contingency plan.
But, plans change.
In an announcement on Sunday, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced that unless a passenger is under the age of two, in their cabin, dining, or in the on-deck smoking area, everyone must wear a mask aboard the ferries, practice social distancing, and for the Kennicott and Tustumena, show a negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours before boarding.
Accommodations will be made for passengers unable to wear face coverings due to medical conditions.
All crew will wear face coverings and practice physical distancing as well.
In addition, no passenger or crew member may disembark at any ports of call that are not their final destination.
The next sailing for the Tustumena that was scheduled for Saturday, has been pushed back to July 2 due to continuing COVID-19 mitigation, according to an announcement on the Ferry Alaska website.