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Hovercraft captain stops crossing after two passengers refused to wear face masks

Two passengers have been banned from using a hovercraft service after a crossing was suspended mid-journey following an argument over wearing a face covering. 

Hovertravel said police were called after the 5.30pm service from Southsea to Ryde on the Isle of Wight was halted after the pair became ‘verbally abusive’. 

A police spokeswoman said the argument was apparently about one of the passengers wearing a mask which has a broken strap, the BBC reported.   

Hovertravel said police were called after the 5.30pm service from Southsea to Ryde on the Isle of Wight was halted after the pair became 'verbally abusive' (file photo)

Hovertravel said police were called after the 5.30pm service from Southsea to Ryde on the Isle of Wight was halted after the pair became ‘verbally abusive’ (file photo)

Anyone travelling on public transport in England must wear a face covering after the rule came into force on June 15. Anyone not wearing one can be fined £100. 

Hovertravel has cancelled the pair’s travel cards for breaching its abusive behaviour policy on Friday. 

Officers spoke to the two passengers in Ryde after the crossing resumed. Isle of Wight police said no formal complaint was made. 

Hovertravel told the County Press their staff have engaged with these customers on a number of previous occasions where they have explained why and encouraged the use of face coverings. 

The firm said: ‘The captain stopped the hovercraft during the crossing to re-iterate the regulations but was forced to escalate the process by involving the police to enforce compliance.

Anyone travelling on public transport in England must wear a face covering after the rule came into force on June 15

Anyone travelling on public transport in England must wear a face covering after the rule came into force on June 15

‘The customers became verbally abusive and so Hovertravel followed its zero tolerance policy to any abusive behaviour by cancelling both customers’ travel l cards.’ 

It is believed the widespread use of face masks could keep the reproductive (R) rate below one and stop a second wave of coronavirus. 

Modelling by the universities of Cambridge and Greenwich found if half of Brits wore masks it would prevent the crisis from spiralling back out of control. 

Researches said everyone wearing masks was twice as effective at reducing R compared to only those with coronavirus symptoms using them.   

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