It was a different scene in Oak Bluffs Saturday evening. After increasing signage and police presence, more visitors to the harbor area could be seen wearing masks when they couldn’t keep their distance.
Soon after The Times reported on a lack of masks and social distancing in the town, Oak Bluffs added a large banner sign near the Island Queen that reads “welcome to Oak Bluffs, mask zone.”
Last Monday, town officials gathered to talk about action plans, including adding a police officer. On Saturday, an Oak Bluffs police officer (wearing a mask) was standing near the outdoor seating area of Nancy’s monitoring the situation.
Currently, a debate surrounding the necessity of wearing face coverings outdoors is unfolding on the Islanders Talk Facebook page, but Gov. Charlie Baker’s order remains in effect to wear face coverings in public in crowded public spaces.
Other signs have also been placed around town to remind people to wear a mask if they can’t be six feet away from others — whether waiting in line or passing on the sidewalk. Rick Mello from MV Screen Printing is taking on the project of creating signs.
By Nancy’s Restaurant, a popular spot for Islanders and visitors alike, most people were wearing surgical masks, N95s, bandanas, or homemade masks.
Customers sitting outside were wearing their masks until sitting at their tables, and the long line for food and drinks was filled with covered faces.
Meanwhile, doughnut-craving customers waited in the Reliable Market parking lot for Back Door Donuts, with just a few people not covering their faces.
Crowds that stood along the harbor were staying separate for the most part, with individual groups typically having fewer than 10 people.
On Sunday, Oak Bluffs is closing both Circuit Ave. and Kennebec Ave. from 10 am to 10 pm in an effort to help restaurants and shops on those streets.