The Hatteras and Ocracoke ferry route will be on a reduced schedule starting Friday because five employees tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation, leading to the route being temporarily short-staffed.
Additionally, Currituck-Knotts Island ferry route will be suspended Saturday through Monday while the staff support the Hatteras-Ocracoke route.
The five last worked Thursday and are in isolation for at least 14 days, according to the release Thursday from the state Department of Transportation.
Because of the staff shortage, round trips are being reduced from 60 to 44 trips between the two islands until the division can safely resume normal schedules.
The following is the temporary schedule:
Hatteras: 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight.
Ocracoke: 4:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and midnight.
Officials recommend those traveling by ferry to call the Hatteras Terminal at 252-996-6000 before arriving to check on schedules and estimated wait times.
Employees and passengers are required to wear face coverings when inside vessels and terminal facilities, regardless of vaccination status, based on requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Transportation Security Administration.
The Hyde County and Carteret County health departments and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have been notified of the positive tests. Passengers who think they may have been exposed to the virus should contact their local health department.
The vessels and the terminals at Hatteras have been cleaned and sanitized since the positive test results. Routine COVID-19 cleaning has been ongoing at all ferry division facilities since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the division.