PIERCE COUNTY, WA — This latest, largest wave of COVID-19 infections has caused a number of long-reaching consequences, interrupting schools, businesses, government agencies, and now the Pierce County Ferry.
According to an update from the county Friday, the rise in COVID-19 cases has caused severe staff shortages in the ferry system. As a result, the ferry will be running on a reduced schedule from Saturday, through at least Tuesday— though possibly longer if staff don't recover in time.
For the reduced route, the first departure from Steilacoom will be at 8 a.m., and the last sailing from Anderson Island will be at 6:40 p.m.
Service to and from Ketron Island will be limited to two daily sailings, at 9:10 a.m. and 5:40 p.m.
"Please plan your day accordingly," the county said in a news release announcing the changes. "We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding."
Ferries have had a particularly tough time handling the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, a COVID-staff shortage caused service reductions at seven WSF routes, skipping up to 140 sailings a day.