Last updated January 15, 2021

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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The latest

• The Steamship Authority has modified its freight schedules on both the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineayrd routes in response to recent positive cases of COVID-19 among its vessel crews. Updated schedules can be found by clicking here. Read a news release about the situation here.

• Pursuant to Gov. Baker’s updated order effective November 6, 2020, masks or cloth face coverings are now required at all times while in public, including at our parking lots, on our buses, at the terminals and while on board the vessels. There is no longer an exemption if you are able to socially distance yourself from other passengers or if you are traveling outside on the weather deck. Passengers who travel with a vehicle and remain there during the voyage may have their masks off, but they must put them on at any point when they step outside the vehicle.

The order also gives the Authority the right to deny passage to those who decline to wear a cloth face covering. Please plan accordingly.

• Schedules on our traditional ferry routes have been published through March 31, 2021. The sailing times on the passenger ferries are the same as the schedules that were originally planned for these time periods. Visit for the updated passenger ferry schedules. Schedules on the freight vessels have been temporarily modified.

• Concessions sales have been suspended on all vessels and terminals. The decision to do so was made by our vendor Centerplate, with our consultation and approval, for the protection of their employees as well as our crews and passengers during the coronavirus outbreak. In the interim, please be sure to bring any food or drink you feel necessary on the boats for your voyage. Please note that eating and drinking is only allowed on the exterior seating areas of the vessels. Thank you.

• EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 2020: All visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must follow new travel orders upon returning to the state. Unless you meet one of the exemptions included in the order, you must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival and quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. Failure to comply may result in a $500 per day fine. The travel order and other information is available at

• Mandatory mask orders are in effect in many towns on Martha’s Vinyeard and on Nantucket. Please educate yourself on the policies in place before your travel.

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.

Although our operations are not ones that lend themselves easily to remote work, we are preparing to enact telecommuting procedures if necessary at our administrative offices in Falmouth. We are also making contingency plans to maintain service in the event that a significant number of our employees fall ill, but we have every confidence that we will continue to provide essential service to the islands throughout this time.

We are working closely with local, state, and federal officials to stay up to date on this quickly changing situation. So far, there have been no specific changes recommended for public transit agencies other than the best practices of instructing our employees to wash their hands, keep up a strict cleaning schedule and to stay home if they are sick. As guidance changes, we will act appropriately to keep everyone safe.

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. We are lowering the vehicle capacities on our vessels to ensure there is adequate space to allow everyone to freely exit their vehicle, per Coast Guard regulations, while the vessel is under way.

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 a cloth face covering is now required while on board.

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.