Shelter Island ferry companies requiring passengers to wear masks in cars

The North and South ferry companies, which operate vessels to Shelter Island, have issued directives that all customers boarding boats, even those in vehicles, must wear face masks or coverings.

General Manager Stella Lagudis of the Shelter Island Heights Property Owners Corporation, which owns North Ferry running from Greenport, said Saturday morning that the order will take effect immediately.

South Ferry, which operates boats to and from North Haven on the South Fork, said it is issuing an identical directive.

This follows the executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that requires all New Yorkers wear masks in public when social distancing is not possible, such as using public transportation.

The new North Ferry directive is “a change from what Police Chief [Jim] Read discussed at [Friday’s] Shelter Island Town informational meeting,” Ms. Lagudis said. “This is for the protection of all passengers and crew. “

Chief Read said at the town’s meeting that masks must be worn by passengers boarding ferries on foot, on bicycles or motorcycles because they had closer interactions with the crew than those in vehicles.

Ferry personnel will hand out fliers at the boarding sites and will not allow anyone without a face covering to board.

When he announced the new directive, Mr. Cuomo said enforcement would be left to local governments, adding there would be no criminal penalties for failure to wear a mask, but he didn’t rule out civil penalties.

“You’re not going to go to jail for not wearing a mask,” the governor said at an informational session in Albany on Wednesday.