On Friday afternoon, as the Memorial Day weekend got into full swing, state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, acting as a spokesman for the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force, announced updated guidelines for the Cape and Islands seasonal communities.
The updated timeline is effective through phase one, according to Cyr spokesman Frank Schulze. The guidelines contain “additional new guidance in Baker-Polito’s phase one reopening plan,” Schulze wrote. They recommend using “contactless pickup to support local businesses” during an “urged 14-day quarantine” for out-of-state travelers. The guidelines clarify that hotels and inns are open only to essential workers during phase one. The update also signifies “additional municipal and county governments signed on, including Dukes County.”
“Even in the context of a summer that will look very different from years past, we welcome, appreciate, and depend on our seasonal residents and visitors as members of our own community,” Cyr said through a release. “It is imperative that each of us take responsibility for our own role in containing the spread of the virus as we look to reopen. In practice, this means wearing face covering when necessary, washing hands and surfaces often, keeping appropriate levels of distance, and staying vigilant for symptoms. Adherence to public health guidelines will determine the pace at which we can reopen and resume our regional tourism economy as it was in years past.”
The Baker-Polito administration, regional healthcare providers, the Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Chambers of Commerce, members of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force, the Cape and Islands legislative delegation, and a coalition of county and municipal government leaders in the region helped develop the updated guidelines, the release states.
Nancy Gardella, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, said more businesses are now open, such as dentists and family doctors who can see nonemergency patients. Houses of worship too are now authorized to open, though some on the Vineyard have opted to continue providing services remotely. More businesses are expected to open Monday, she said, like salons and pet groomers.
Gardella emphasized the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers employs the word “urge.”
“People have to be thoughtful when they come here,” she said.
Asked if it will impact the day-trippers who come to Oak Bluffs and other up-Island towns, she said, “Absolutely.”
But she added options are limited right now for such travelers. She said restaurant owners and those who provide lodging are extremely eager to get their businesses operational. Phase two will be “critical” for that, she said.
Oak Bluffs selectmen chair Brian Packish also emphasized the word “urge” in relation to the 14-day quarantine, and said he doesn’t see anything “new or surprising” in that aspect of the updated guidelines. He said the urging for quarantine is slated to go all way through phase two, which “theoretically” would be July.
He said it would be “a bit of a surprise” if guidelines urging a quarantine stretched into phase three.