Edgartown officials remove mask signs 

Towns begin to switch to state mask regulations.


Updated May 14

A team of Edgartown officials took to the downtown streets Friday morning to remove signage requiring masks and face coverings.

During the mass sign removal, downtown Edgartown seemed to return to a sense of normalcy as people were getting their morning coffee and doing some early shopping — many without their masks.

“It’s a satisfying milestone,” health agent Matt Poole said. “We did an excellent job, and I’m half-speechless, to tell you the truth.”

Poole said while there were some bumps in the road, the entire community stepped up over the past year to reach this point.

Poole was joined by town administrator James Hagerty, Police Chief Bruce McNamee, and Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer.

“It means things are getting better, but it doesn’t mean that it’s over,” Hagerty said. “We’re cautiously optimistic.”

“We’re delighted to see these come down,” McNamee said. 

Schaeffer added that removing the signs gave him a sense of progress. “It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

People are no longer required to wear masks in the town centers of Tisbury and Edgartown, but should still mask up if they cannot maintain six feet of distance from others, health officials said Thursday.

The loosening of mask requirements in downtown areas comes as Island boards of health begin reverting from local mask ordinance back to state guidelines. Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker lifted requirements to wear masks outdoors unless individuals are unable to socially distance themselves.

Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said Tisbury has rescinded its local mask order, and Hagerty confirmed that the board of health has also lifted the downtown mask order. “They’ve decided to revert to the state guidance on masking outside, which is just to mask if you can’t be six feet or more away from people. Masks will also be required for events and things like that, and indoors in any businesses and stores,” Valley said.

Before this change, towns required that folks be masked anywhere in their downtown areas.

She noted that Oak Bluffs is expected to vote on dropping the local mask mandate and going with state regulations.

“I have sent an email to the Department of Public Works asking that they take the mandatory mask signs down around town, so that is happening now,” Valley said.

She added that Edgartown and Tisbury have both abrogated their local construction orders, which were put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. “The state has guidance in place for construction and worksites. Basically, in Tisbury at least, all the local orders have been rescinded, and we have reverted to following the state guidelines,” she said.

From talking to those in town, Valley said, a fair number of people will continue to wear masks in public spaces, whether they are near someone or not.

“A lot of people just seem to feel more comfortable with them,” she said, but noted that the risk of transmitting COVID to someone while passing by them on the sidewalk momentarily is low.

“When you are outside, if you are in a group or you are going to be in a congested area, definitely wear a mask,” Valley said. “But even if you are just walking up the street, and you walk by somebody within six feet, technically you should have a mask on, but realistically when you are just walking by them, it’s only a couple of seconds — you aren’t going to be in close proximity long enough to transmit anything.”


  1. Meanwhile we’ve been doing this if Florida since September 2020. We never had a mask mandate ever. Fl is a fascinating case study the entire nation should look at.

    • “Florida has reported more than 10,000 covid-19 variant cases, surge after spring break”~ABC News headline on skyrocketing cases in a May 9 report. “Florida is home to the most variant cases in the country.” Thanks, but no thanks, George.

      • Florida ranks 27th among the States in deaths from Covid. Massachusetts is 3rd. Facts matter. Science matters.

        • Meaningless numbers.
          The meaningful numbers are the last 7 days rolling average of deaths per 100,000.
          As of 5/15, FL 52, MA 11.
          Facts matter.
          Meaningful statistical analysis matters.
          Of course being such a tourist state FL exports a considerable number of it’s cases to die at home.
          We both have “Republican” governors, how can the out comes be so different.
          Can it be that the the FL governor is a Trump sycophant and that the MA governor is a true GOP Republican who rides on no one’s coat tails?

    • George– Yes we really should take a hard look at this “case study”.
      Let’s look at the 7 day moving average for deaths from Covid 19 on May 13 2021;
      Florida — 55 deaths per day
      Mass —- 9 deaths per day

      on a per capita basis, Florida (with 3 x the population of Ma.)is running, on average, at double the death rate of Mass.
      What is fascinating is that some people just really don’t care about how many people die.

  2. Case study of what? Governor is a Trumphole clone and knows not what he’s doing most of the time!

  3. I can’t wait to get my second vaccine shot in early June. Then: no mask ever, anywhere!

      • The “Variants” bogeyman is a convenient way to keep the paranoia going. The vaccines work against them. Move on.

        • Like every thing on God’s green earth Covid will continue to evolve.
          Just like the flue virus. Last years flu vaccine will not protect against this years variant. Get educated, or move on.

        • val– do you honestly think there is no variation going on in the genetic structure of viruses. I’m surprised you are not talking about how only the “unrighteous ” are dying from this and it is “gods will”‘
          they thought that about the black plague.
          Have you actually ever seen a virus ?

    • You do know you can still carry the virus and spread it to people that are unvaccinated, right? How about being open to wearing a mask when you might come into contact with immunocompromised folks that can’t be vaccinated. You’ll be protected (probably) but can still infect others.

  4. I consider myself a careful and considerate person. I think the mask signs may be coming down a little pre-maturely. Let’s be safe and smart. One who is vaccinated may be protected from becoming very ill from Covid but only until the antibodies start to fade. Vaccinated folks can still get Covid and can pass it along, and there are still millions of Massachusetts residents (and visitors to MV) who are not vaccinated at all. Let’s protect all and be considerate and continue to wear masks indoors in most public settings that do not have the level of ventilation needed to disperse or capture virus particles. Keep in mind, the vaccine does not give lifelong protection but is shown to last about 7-8 months before it starts to fade. We started vaccinating only in December, so those folks early vaccinated will need boosters fairly soon. Once a much higher level of vaccination is achieved is when consideration of loosening the mask mandate in public settings indoors should take place.

    • Thank you Ana, for being a voice of reason and community-mindedness. When walking my dogs today, a person on the path asked if masks were still required. I said that I wasn’t sure the town had changed it’s policy yet, and although I was fully vaccinated, the pathway to and from the beach it can be a little more congested so I planned to wear mine to protect anyone else I came in contact with. When I was beyond the pathway I put the mask in my pocket. It’s not that hard to show concern for others that may not be vaccinated or have a compromised immune system.

  5. Normal people have not been wearing a mask for months and have ignored the CDC for a long time. Notice how quickly the CDC changed its tune yesterday. Even Uncle Joe stopped wearing today. Now we are going to worry that the vaccine doesnt last and there are variants? Its over and we all want to go back to pre pandemic life but some of us wont let us. The so called experts are government bureaucrats who cant run anything right. Yes Florida has variant cases so if you are fearful please keep away and stay in the basement.

    • ENGELMAN’s first statement, not surprisingly, is false. Normal people who are respectful of others have been wearing their masks these last months, except for uncrowded situations outdoors. Here on the Vineyard, vaccine rollout was slow and so most of us have not been fully vaccinated until very recently. Many are still not past their 2weeks after their shots. In Florida where there is an abnormal and stupid governor allowing for the extreme surges in cases and more contagious variants to spread more aggressively than in all the rest of the country, it is ignorant and dangerous to minimize the threat that a deadly, selfish attitude poses to others. Anyone who continues to expose themself as profoundly unqualified and too untruthful to remark intelligently on what normal people do, cannot be taken seriously. Normal people listen to experts, not repeated, frequent falsehoods. Minimizing covid, spreading lies and misinformation about it, and endlessly boasting of how somebody ignored the experts’ advice not to gather in crowds, travel, etc, is a lot of hooey— from the beginning of the pandemic right up until now. Selfishness and dishonesty are not normal behaviors for those who care about the greater good. A disdainful attitude toward those most vulnerable to covid (stay in the basement??) is selfish, shameful, and unchristian.

      Because there unfortunately are many unvaccinated who can’t be trusted to continue to wear a mask, we will continue to have spread and more variants appearing.

    • Andrew– There are about 800 Americans dying from covid every day in the U.S
      Do you remember when you were certain that 1,000 Americans would not die during the entire pandemic? “Not even close” you said.
      You seem to be more concerned about the opioid crisis, that claims 128 lives every day.
      You think that is a terrible failure of government.
      You seem to be more concerned about suicide, which claims 132 lives every day.
      You think that is a terrible thing and hysteria about covid is a major cause of it.
      You seem to be more concerned about the murder rate, that claims 47 lives every day.
      You think that is a terrible failure of society, and blame it on a lack of morality.
      You seem to be more concerned about automobile fatalities that claim 115 lives every day.
      You think that is a terrible failure of the federal transportation administration.
      You have cited all these things in past posts as something we should be concerned about instead of covid.
      All these things combined only amount to about 1/2 the death rate from covid.

      800 lives a day is far from over , Andrew,

    • Handy Andy the Vacuum Guy
      Why is the death rate in Florida so much higher than it is here?
      Could it have anything to do with having such a well respected governor?
      One who provides leadership by example?
      Why the damn fool allowed himself to get vaccinated in public.
      He will never be in Trump’s cabinet.

      • Mr Hess, Florida is a geriatric state–lots of old people here for retirement. Old people die usually before young people or did you not know that. We here are maskless and happy and not fearful an we dont believe the experts or the science because it is handed to us by government workers who are incompetent for the most part or they wouldnt be government workers. How is that!

        • Andrew, The vast majority of these posts are written by people who did not catch Covid and do not know anybody who was seriously affected by it, but want to keep screaming the panic narrative the media has been flaming for the past year that has blown any sense of risk evaluation way out of balance. They will always find a hypothetical scenario to justify their bunker mentality.

          • Mr Johnson agreed. Liberal democrats who are constantly fearful about something and want big brother in control.

  6. Ana– This is a direct quote from the CDC.:
    “We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. ”

    I am curious about the source of your 7-8 months assertion.

    • The flu vaccine lasts about 7-8 months, there are a lot of similarities.
      A fairly reasonable assumption for an assertion.
      Stand by for breaking news.
      Mostly wrong.
      Like people.

  7. Botton line – If you are concerned then wear a mask, if vaccinated and ok without on – don’t. Easy.

  8. Martha’s Vineyard has had zero COVID deaths without vaccines available. Enough of the nanny state nonsense now that they’re available to anyone who wants one.

Comments are closed.