You may start seeing new signs in downtown Oak Bluffs ahead of Memorial Day weekend. In an effort to help educate the public, the town of Oak Bluffs is working on new signage around town and at businesses, with information on proper handwashing, social distancing, and face coverings.
Town administrator Robert Whritneour told selectmen the town is working on a sign design. “We’ll be prepared in any event, with that simple, graphic-oriented sign,” Whritneour said. “What I want to focus on is … the implementation of the guidelines of the state, which are mirrored in many of our local orders, that visitors know when you enter a building, have your face covered, that you need to maintain social distancing, you need to wash your hands, and you need to be vigilant on the symptoms.”
Oak Bluffs Association (OBA) has volunteered to get the signage to each town business. OBA executive director Christine Todd said she was working with other Island business associations to get uniform signage around the Island.
Selectmen chair Brian Packish stressed the urgency of proper signage. “We can’t wait any longer. We’re at a point where the message needs to be out, the message needs to be clear, and we need to demonstrate to the people that are living here and the people that are coming here that we’re paying attention.”
In other business, selectmen and board of health members went over the state’s four-phase reopening, which began on Monday and is set to let more businesses begin operations on May 25. After that, the state expects additional phases to come every three weeks, as long as public health data is trending in a positive direction.
Health agent Meegan Lancaster went over the Island’s COVID-19 numbers. On Friday, the Island boards of health began releasing contact tracing data. The boards of health also separated the number of “confirmed cases” and number of “probable positive cases.” Probable positives are people who received a positive antibody test. So far the Island has four probable positive cases, but Lancaster warned against the validity of those tests.
“The antibody tests are notoriously unreliable at this point, and the methodology of having the test administered is not necessarily available for us at this large scale,” Lancaster said.