Six regularly scheduled ferry runs have been cut effective Sunday, and the traffic to the Island is expected to decline further in the wake of a plea by Island hospitals posted late Friday on the Steamship Authority website exhorting people not to travel.

“Martha's Vineyard Hospital and Nantucket Cottage Hospital are urging residents and visitors of the islands to consider the limitations of our critical access hospitals during this unprecedented time of pandemic. For your safety and to save lives, we strongly advise you to STAY AT HOME,” the statement reads in part.

The new schedule eliminates the 6 a.m., 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily runs from Vineyard Haven and the 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Woods Hole departures. The 8:15 a.m. from Woods Hole and noon boat from Vineyard Haven will be run as “hazardous” during the weekdays.

“The schedules are in response to a noted decline in passenger and vehicular traffic on board its vessels this week, as well as in anticipation of lowered demand for the foreseeable future,” SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll said in a statement issued earlier Friday.

The modified schedule, posted on the Steamship Authority website, is currently set to run from March 22 through April 2, but could be extended or cut back as circumstances warrant. All change and cancellation fees for reservations have been waived through April 30.

Throughout the week, the Steamship had hinted that route cuts might  be necessary due to a decline in ridership. Steamship Authority governor Jim Malkin spoke about the cuts at the Chilmark selectmen’s meeting on Friday afternoon, saying that there were a combination of factors impacting the boat line.

"The traffic has diminished considerably. Senior crew members...are electing to take time off,” Mr. Malkin said. "So it may be that we see schedule modifications and taking boats offline.”

As part of their emergency preparedness planning, the SSA authorized general manager Bob Davis to take broad action regarding necessary scheduling cuts during the crisis at their meeting on Tuesday, as long as he consulted with Mr. Malkin and Nantucket governor Robert Ranney.

With concerns growing about the coronavirus pandemic, the SSA has already taken extra preventative measures, including a rigorous new schedule for cleaning ferries and shuttle buses, encouraging drivers to stay in their cars and promoting social distancing among walk-on passengers, are all in place. All shuttle buses are now cleaned every one to four hours, and terminals are cleaned three times every eight hours. Workers will be required to stay home if sick, even if it means canceling a ferry.

On Thursday, the SSA eliminated all concession sales from their boats in response to concerns about the virus regarding food service.

The question of whether to screen passengers has been discussed, but there are no immediate plans to screen travelers, boat line officials said.

Any screening would need to involve public health officials, and there are questions about whether the boat line even had the legal authority to conduct screening.

Other transit agencies on Island are also maintaining a commitment to service and taking steps to add extra sanitizing at terminals and on airplanes. Cape Air, the only year-round airline that services the Vineyard, has seen a steep drop in demand, but has not shut down flights.

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport airport remains open, with limited employee presence and public access.

Private jet traffic has seen an uptick, the airport confirmed this week.

Cape Air spokesman Trish Lorino confirmed that demand had plummeted in the past few weeks, similar to what is happening with other airlines. She said service was still operating as scheduled.

In an emailed statement, Cape Air CEO and founder Dan Wolf said the company was working with partners in Washington to mitigate the impact the virus was having on the airline industry.

“In the short-term, we are seeing a noticeable decline in our bookings, which can undoubtedly be tied to the uncertainty in the market. Long-term, we are more optimistic and hopeful,” Mr. Wolf said.

The Peter Pan bus line, which runs a bus from Woods Hole to Boston’s South Station and Logan Airport, has cut routes as well, eliminating most afternoon runs save for the 5:15 p.m. from Woods Hole to Boston. Their latest run from Logan Airport to Woods Hole is now 2:15 p.m., according to their website.

The small commuter ferry Patriot, which runs between Falmouth and the Vineyard, is operating a full schedule, owner Jim Tietje said on Friday.

With most businesses closed and most Islanders staying home, ridership on Vineyard Transit Authority buses has also seen a sharp drop. On Saturday, the VTA said effective immediately it would begin boarding buses from the rear door only, except for seniors and disabled people who need to use the front door ramp.

The VTA reported that ridership was down 31 per cent on Monday compared with the past two Mondays. Buses are mostly empty, but VTA administrator Angela Grant said they will continue to run on schedule, albeit with extra cleaning protocols in place.

At the monthly SSA board of governors meeting held in Falmouth Tuesday morning, the general manager said the coronavirus pandemic could have financial implications for the boat line, which operates at a deficit in the winter and makes up for it in the busy summer months. Mr. Davis said losses in the winter can reach $16 million by April, and a decline in demand as the season gets under way could affect cash flow.

SSA governor authorized its general manager to explore a $10 million line of credit and consider scheduling cuts if warranted.

“We know the incredible stress everyone is under and we will do everything possible to get you where you need to go,” Mr. Davis said.