Catalina Flyer to shut down for up to two weeks

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Carrier describes move as diligence to protect public, crew

The Catalina Flyer this week temporarily stopped taking passengers to the Island, but is bringing back customers who are there, according to the service’s general manager. The cross channel carrier has shut down service for up to two weeks.

“We’re being diligent to protect the public and the employees that are working here,” said General Manager Bob Black.

Black called the Islander shortly after a reporter sent a private message to the Flyer Facebook page seeking confirmation.

“We have had an outbreak with a crew member,” said Black during an Aug. 17 phone interview.

Love Catalina Island (the local Chamber of Commerce) announced in a Wednesday email that the cross channel carrier would be shut down for two weeks due to COVID-19.

Black confirmed giving that time frame in an email to Flyer customers, but told the Islander that he hoped to be back at full operation sooner.

Jim Luttjohann, president and CEO of Love Catalina, confirmed receiving the news from Catalina Flyer.

The service was to pick up passengers still on the Island on Tuesday, Aug. 17; Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 18, and today, Friday, Aug. 20, according to Black. He said they were keeping an eye on the situation.

Black told the Islander that the crew members currently working for the Flyer will be tested daily.

As of Wednesday, each of the five had tested negative.

Black said they didn’t have enough additional crew members to take 500 passengers to the Island, referring to the maximum capacity of the vessel.

He said they were cleaning to the interior of the boat. He also said they clean the boat after every trip. “But it’s an ongoing endeavor,” he said.

He also said they would not go into full operations if anyone in the crew is sick.