THE county council has announced that the Windermere Car Ferry – The Mallard – will resume service as of today.

The operation was suspended on March 25 because insufficient numbers of operational staff were available to safely run the ferry due to the COVID-19 emergency and the Government prescribing essential travel only.

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the county council has said the Windermere Ferry can now resume operating safely within the Government guidelines on safe working.

Beginning today, the car ferry will begin operating seven days a week with a restricted timetable.

The proposed start date for its Monday-to-Friday ervice will be at 7am, stopping then for a break at 11am. The weekday service will recommence at 2:30pm and the final departure will be at 6pm.

The service is also expected to run between 9am and 6pm at weekends.

The ferry will be running on a restricted timetable in order to allow time for staff to carry out a full cleaning operation on board The Mallard which will help people stay safe.

As part of the resumed service, the council says it will make Windermere Car Ferry cash-free to maintain social distancing in line with government guidance and to ensure payment is safe for customers and staff during the pandemic.

Since cash payments will no longer be accepted, customers in vehicles will be asked to pay by contactless card payment through the closed window of any vehicle - thereby protecting the public and staff.

Vehicle drivers and any passengers must remain inside their vehicle while the ferry crosses the lake.

Motorcyclists with an open face helmet will be required to either wear a face covering or mask, or close their helmet visor at all times while onboard the ferry. Motorcyclists must remain beside their vehicle throughout the crossing.

Pedestrians and cyclists will be required to use contactless payments at the two newly installed kiosks on each side of the lakeshore. These payments will be made through a glass screen to protect the staff and the public.

In addition, pedestrians and cyclists will be required to wear face coverings at all times whilst on the ferry as a condition of travel.

The county council say these changes are being introduced to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and protect the health and safety of the travelling public and staff.

Other measures being brought in to make sure travel is as safe as possible on the Windermere Ferry include: a one-way system in the pedestrian area of The Mallard for staff only; two-metre safe distancing markers on the ferry deck to allow pedestrians to stand safely during the journey across the lake; signs reminding people to keep safe and keep their distance; boarding and disembarkation will be controlled by ferry staff to ensure that social distancing rules are adhered to at all times.