Edgartown, O.B. extend construction bans

West Tisbury and Chilmark are looking at dates for allowing small work crews to get going again. — Lexi Pline

Edgartown and Oak Bluffs became the latest towns to extend their stay-at-home orders through May 4, and construction bans through April 21.

Both boards of selectmen met in separate meetings Monday afternoon. Aquinnah, West Tisbury, Tisbury and Chilmark have already extended the orders.

During the Oak Bluffs meeting, selectman Brian Packish said that after April 21 the town would look at how to address construction going forward.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people that seem to have the impression that we don’t understand that people need to get back to work…that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Packish said. “We’re just dealing with the daily challenges and we just need to keep people safe.”

A working group made up of health agents, building commissioners, and other tradespeople is also developing a phased plan that would get people working after April 21 with guidelines such as no more than two people on a crew, have hand sanitizer, and other requirements, according to Oak Bluffs Police Chief Erik Blake.

This is a developing story.


  1. The construction ban was a bad idea to begin with and continues to be just that. It wouldn’t be surprising if the uptick in new cases was related to that ban. 90% of construction sites is the equivalent of being in self quarantine, but safer, because you’re not home cozied up to the germs you just brought back from the grocery store, pharmacy or liquor store. It’s a math exercise. The ban on construction, landscaping, painting etc. means that hundreds, yes hundreds of additional people will be going to those stores on a daily basis. Exactly the opposite of what everyone is trying to accomplish. Social distancing means staying as far away from other people as you possibly can. A construction ban does not accomplish that. Closing a grocery store does not accomplish that. It only forces people to come in closer contact with each other. These decisions are putting the people of the island at risk and our health care workers at tremendous risk. Talk of the construction ban usually turns to the workers coming off the boat. That is a different situation altogether and should be handled separately.

    • You are right, of course – but how could we successfully discriminate against the daily workers coming over by boat? I do lawn and meadow mowing where I am alone and far away from anybody, probably safer than anywhere, including my home.

      • I 100% agree with the ban. But I do think if you are able to work ALONE and not endanger anyone you should be able to.

    • “It’s a math exercise. The ban on construction, landscaping, painting etc. means that hundreds, yes hundreds of additional people will be going to those stores on a daily basis.”

      Math For Dummies? Are you suggesting that construction workers who don’t go to work will instead go hang out in stores because they don’t know what else to do? Who goes to stores on a daily basis during an epidemic and quarantine? Responsible people go only when necessary, no more than once a week for food or medicine, only one person in a family shops, and they shop as quickly as possible. Why anyone thinks that construction workers get a pass to be selfish and irresponsible is beyond me. Construction workers I know are more skilled at math… and thinking.

  2. Our numbers are staying low on coronavirus. There is no doubt in my mind that the construction ban and other measures have been helpful. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

  3. I work alone in empty houses. I’ve never seen a crowded worksite on the island. Not sure why they are targeting construction workers.

    • ???? What are you talking about? I work alone sometimes also, but it’s incredibly common to have twenty plus guys on a job site. We are all dealing with the same issue. Stop being selfish.

  4. This topic has been discussed to the limit of discussion. The ban should end on the 21st and that’s it.
    The safety mechanisms are in place. The experiment of keeping people apart (except for Cronigs & Stop and shop) has run its course. Time for all those people involved with construction to get back to work. Our families need us. The hand wringing, hysteria, and predictions of doom are over. The island is on the brink of a disastrous summer season. We need all the positive help the towns can give. Hopefully, we can still save the end of July and August to keep our seasonal business from being distroyed.

    • Stop being delusional. Even if everything is open how many people will have disposable income to vacation here? Any economy based on tourism will be subject to outside influences.

    • It’s possible for businesses to come back to life— with help, time, hard work, determination and luck. While a certain percentage of businesses will not ever recover, it is 100% certain that 100% of those who’ve died will not recover. Where there is life there is hope.

  5. Any ban that keeps people away from each is a good ban and its almost impossible to stay 6′ away from someone else on a job site. Also, the supermarkets should be limiting the amount of people in the store at one time. How can you have 6′ of separation if there are 20 people in Reliable’s?

  6. We all know this ban will be pushed back well into May the way things are going. Not allowing tradesmen/women to work for all of April will cripple most of the pay check to pay check people. Now they won’t be able to pay rent, but food, pay bills etc.
    Most of the trades don’t work much if any in the winter, followed by 3 weeks of bad weather in March. If all could work March and April they would have $$ to get through the next few months.

    You think any restaurant will be open for dining anytime before July you are all crazy but those servers that lost their jobs could be working outside making money and not collecting unemployment.
    Meanwhile anyone can arrive to MV from anywhere which means each time that boat runs we start back at day 1.
    You trying to tell me the people who go get nips 5x a day at the liquor store is safer than mowing a lawn, painting a house ??

    Everywhere else in MA construction and maintenance is happening.

    There is simply no reason to not allow one person crews or even two too work with such low infection rate.

    What happens when July and august comes with the same virus we tried to squash and no one has worked since March.

    • Good question. While thousands of Americans are sick and dying, and millions more have had their livelihoods destroyed, rage should be directed squarely where it belongs: President Death and the GOP sycophants who let a criminally inept idiot ruin millions of lives. Other countries with good leadership are faring much better than we are, thanks to universal testing, healthcare, appropriate equipment including masks for everyone, and strict social distancing.

        • As long as you’re okay, Hanley, why worry about the financial destruction for many island individuals and businesses.

  7. Jackie, I hope I live long enough to see you not put a negative political spin on every comment. yes, we know you are upset your team did not win. Please refrain from these comments.
    Winter is the busiest time of the year for construction. I’m not sure what some of you do for a living but 90% of the construction happens in the offseason. Who wants a bunch of tradespeople in their house when they are there enjoying the summer season. Losing the early spring season does not make the existing work disappear. It only makes things back up. If and when summer residents return to the island, most contractors are still trying to finish what has already been started, not able to take on new projects.
    I hope things get back to normal before the season starts, fingers crossed.

    • View, I am “upset” that thousands and thousands of people are sick and dying and that millions are now unemployed and facing financial ruin. Why do you think this has happened to the extent it has, or don’t you bother to think or care about it, unless it impacts your little life of being a contractor? It is outrageous that you are unable to grasp this new reality and are unable to be “upset” about it the nationwide impact, too. The selfish arrogance of some, not all, of the island tradespeople is disgusting. Why some think that they, above all others, are the only ones who have to have exceptions made for the fragility of their livelihood is beyond me. They and their family are no more important than anyone else, but that, I am afraid, is beyond certain people. We’ve all had our lives and, for many, our livelihoods, turned upside down. This sort of selfish rant and the inability to grasp what the coronavirus has done to so many families is definitely upsetting. Things will not “get back to normal” before the season starts, but don’t let reality stop you from carrying on with your selfishness.

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