The guidelines, which were presented to town boards Islandwide and are now in effect, include mandatory mask wearing regardless of social distancing, notifying the board of health of a positive case within 12 hours of a positive test result, stocking hand sanitizer stations, and naming a required COVID-19 safety officer for each work site.
At their meeting Wednesday, Tisbury select board members approved the guidelines as revised by the board of health, with little discussion.
Larry Gomez was the only select board member to make a brief comment, asking what he should do if he walks by a group of workers who appear to be violating the health regulations.
“What if we are walking by a site, like on a walk last week toward Tashmoo Beach, where I noticed a construction site with about six or seven fellows sitting, talking, and having coffee with no masks?” he wondered. “Am I supposed to call it in to our agent?”
Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said individuals can call either their board of health office, or the building inspector’s office for their town. “We will follow up and make sure that everyone on that site is following the rules,” Valley added.
Gomez said he wouldn’t consider approaching workers who are violating the health mandate “because [he] is afraid to get punched in the mouth, just walking down the street.”
“I just have to bite my lip under my mask and keep moving,” he continued.
At a short meeting Wednesday evening, Chilmark’s board of health and selectmen unanimously approved the tightened guidelines.
“The nice thing about adopting these regulations is it puts all of the towns in unison,” board of health chair Katie Carroll said.
“I would say congratulations to the board of health, all the Island’s boards of health, for doing this,” selectman Warren Doty said. “You’ve really pulled this together.”
Aquinnah board of health assistant Karen Colombo said the Aquinnah board has not yet voted on the updated construction guidelines, but could make a decision at a hearing as The Times goes to print. She added that Aquinnah has been following the state mandates for construction site protocols.
Health board member Matt Poole, who is Edgartown’s health agent, said last Thursday the regulations were well received at a meeting of 300 builders association members.
“It’s definitely an impressive number,” selectmen chair Bill Rossi said, “300 people agreeing with this.” Rossi said he didn’t think such support was evident in the spring, so the number “really says a lot to me.”
In addition to being grateful for the effort to establish the tightened guidelines, selectman James Malkin said he wanted the board of health to know “you have the support of the selectmen in enforcing this if we find people are not doing what they’re supposed to do, including all of the penalties that have been raised. We can’t fool around with this. We have to be serious about it.”
Reporters Rich Saltzberg and Lucas Thors contributed to this story.