The Staten Island Ferry is fighting a global pandemic with masking tape.
“X”s have been taped across every other seat on the blue-and-orange vessels to enforce social distancing as the city moves ahead with the Phase One of reopening from its coronavirus lockdown.
“I’m sure this will work,” one observer tweeted sarcastically.
“‘How can we do less than the bare minimum?’” another joked.
Mayor de Blasio had suggested the same technique for city subways and buses, which are under the state’s control. But he was promptly dismissed by the MTA, whose spokeswoman called the idea “nice in theory but utterly unworkable.”
The city Department of Transportation, the ferry operators, did not immediately respond to questions about social distancing measures on the boats, which were typically completely filled with seated passengers during rush hours before the coronavirus.
As with other forms of mass transit, Staten Island Ferry ridership plummeted during the coronavirus lockdown. Though DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg Tuesday said ridership is trending up this week as the city reopens.
Dani Simons, a former DOT official under the Bloomberg administration, came to the defense of the department’s janky approach to social distancing.
“I feel like it’s so much better than running it up the chain of command and waiting till marketing perfects something, legal marks it up, marketing redoes it, City Hall weighs in and it gets re-written again and then it’s Christmas,” Simons tweeted.
Mayor de Blasio’s communications director, Wiley Norvell, concurred.
“Couldn’t agree more! More masking tape in govt!” Norvell joked in response.