First responders wearing masks

Tisbury EMS and Police are wearing masks and gloves in line with CDC guidelines. - Courtesy Tisbury PD

Police officers and emergency medical professionals are now wearing masks when they interact with the public during the pandemic, according to Island law enforcement officials.

They began wearing them in accordance with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Police Chief Mark Saloio wrote in a text message.

Tisbury and Edgartown announced the decision to wear masks on their Facebook pages, in part, so that Islanders would not be concerned. Oak Bluffs Police also have a post showing officers wearing the masks.

“The decision was made (Saturday) in response to the new CDC recommendations, and just to be safe in doing all we can to protect our first responders and keep them healthy,” Saloio wrote.

The Edgartown post announcing the use of masks, states, “We promise your friendly neighborhood officer is still smiling beneath the mask!”

Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee told The Times all of his officers are well and he aims to keep it that way. “We are acting in line with the CDC recommendations about mask wearing in public places,” he wrote. “On Friday I issued every officer 2 N95 masks. We posted that Facebook pic just to not worry people.”

While the CDC initially said wearing a mask was not helpful for people not infected with the virus, they’ve reversed course and issued new guidelines asking all Americans to wear a mask of some sort when they are in public.