In response to decreased demand amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Steamship Authority announced Friday a reduction in service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and the delay of the return of its seasonal high-speed ferry.
Starting Sunday, regular ferry service will be reduced through April 2 "in response to a sharply lower demand for travel to both islands,” the Steamship Authority said in a statement on its website.
High speed ferry service, which was to return for the season on April 3, will not begin until April 24 “at the earliest,” according to the statement.
"The decision to delay the return is in response to an anticipated lack of demand for travel in the current climate, as well as an effort on the part of the Authority to limit its costs during this period of uncertainty,” the statement said.
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Nantucket Cottage Hospital also released a joint statement asking people to stay off the island to prevent straining access to hospitals.
“For your safety and to save lives, we strongly advise you to STAY AT HOME,” the statement said. “The perception that the Islands are a safe haven are not realistic given the limited number of personnel, critical supplies and beds.”