The Tisbury board of health has approved a mandatory mask order for Main Street, most of Beach Road, and parking lots at Owen Park, Tashmoo Beach, and Lake Street Landing, effective at midnight Thursday.
Tisbury becomes the latest town to approve mandatory mask orders, following Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Chilmark, and West Tisbury. Aquinnah discussed a letter issued by the county that sought an Islandwide approach, but requested clarity on enforcement.
In all of the places where mandatory mask orders are in effect, they are in the high-density areas. In Chilmark, for example, masks are required in Menemsha.
Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio suggested taking the ambiguity out by making it townwide, but there wasn’t support for that by the board of health.
The Tisbury select board was in the meeting, but did not vote. A mandatory mask order is under the jurisdiction of the health board. There was no discussion of how the order would be enforced while selectmen were part of the meeting.
Initially, Beach Road was not part of the discussion, but health agent Maura Valley suggested adding it because of the large number of people on that street.
“There is a large amount of people sitting outside at Net Result,” board member Jeff Pratt said. “I think it’s appropriate to go down that far.”
In answer to a question about what to do about people eating, assistant health agent Catie Blake said masks are not required while sitting at a restaurant.
During the discussion, Saloio said he sees large numbers of people on Franklin Street, at West Chop, and on State Road, where there is a high concentration of businesses. “I just think simple is best,” he said of making the regulations townwide.
But Valley said it’s easier to social distance in those places. “In the Main Street area, it’s impossible, and that’s why it’s required there and not in other areas of town,” Valley said.
Blake said she thinks compliance in town is already at 95 percent. “I don’t know what you guys are seeing, but I think there are some hot spots,” she said.
There are some hot spots, including the Post Office, Leslie’s Pharmacy, and at the town dock, Blake said. “Other than people on the street who are mean and nasty, most people want to do the right thing,” she said.
The harbormaster and shellfish constable are authorized to enforce the regulations, Valley said.
The health board is also investigating what they believe is a camp being operated at West Chop daily, for three hours. According to Blake, there are about 40 kids, with four or five counselors.
“Parents are saying it’s a babysitting service,” Blake said.
“It meets the definition of a camp, and we’ve reached out to the state to get their interpretation on this babysitting service,” Valley said.