When Aucklanders flock back to Waiheke, there’s growing concern around social distancing and Covid etiquette at the familiar pinch points on board and waiting for ferries. Sophie Boladeras reports.

Waiheke’s essential ferry services are crucial when it comes to Covid-19 health and safety for island residents, says board member Robin Tucker.

Many locals echoed Tucker’s concerns during a board meeting attended by more than 100 people last week. At its conclusion, board members said they would advocate to government that non-resident travellers to Waiheke are fully vaccinated or can present a negative Covid test pre-departure.

Tucker says such a mandate would provide an extra layer of protection for both residents and visitors but doesn’t know yet whether the board’s request will be actioned.

“Things are moving so fast and continuously when it comes to government’s responses to the Covid situation that we might ask for something one day then those conditions are present the next.

“I think it would be a long shot if government decided to enforce our request; they have a lot more to worry about than Waiheke ferries.”

Tucker says she would like to see Fullers and Sealink take matters into their own hands.

“Personally, I think it would be great if Fullers took the initiative and mandated people to show vaccine passports before boarding cityside, then I would feel more confident in terms of utilising those services. Essential travel still needs to be available for all Waiheke Islanders, so the mechanism could include a residents’ lane and residents’ pass for those who aren’t double vaxxed.

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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