Updated 5 pm
The Newes From America has temporarily closed its doors due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19, but will reopen Tuesday at 5 pm.
The Newes, which sits below the Kelley House Hotel, is the latest Edgartown restaurant to close due to staff testing positive for COVID. Alchemy and Port Hunter both closed their doors for a few days.
Speaking to The Times by phone Monday, Edgartown health agent Matt Poole did not know exactly when the Newes closed, but said the posted sign had been up since at least Saturday.
Representatives from the Newes could not immediately be reached for comment.
On Monday, the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health reported three new COVID clusters at Alchemy (14), Port Hunter (5), and the Harbor View Hotel (6). A cluster is defined as more than two people from different families or households with a shared source of infection.
A paper sign posted on the Newes entrance said the pub had decided to close for the next few days.
“Due to a staff member recently testing positive for COVID, we have decided to close for the next few days to clean and sanitize the restaurant as well as ensure all our staff are tested and COVID free,” the sign reads. “We are doing this out of concern for our staff, guests, and community and hope you understand. We look forward to serving you again soon and please stay safe.”
Poole said the Newes has been in close communication with him, is not considered a cluster, and that the historic pub elected to close up shop temporarily.
While there is no threshold, guidance, or policy for restaurant closures due to staff testing positive for COVID, Poole said Edgartown restaurants have been collaborating with him and following COVID protocols to keep customers and employees safe.
“I’m satisfied with communication with food service establishments,” Poole said. “It’s been good, under the circumstances.”
Meanwhile, with the rise to 48 new cases last week, double the number of cases from the previous week, Poole said there is talk among the boards of health and health agents of a mask mandate, but no decision has been reached.
Currently the boards of health have only issued an indoor mask advisory, which asks people to “wear masks when indoors or in enclosed spaces serving the public or when unable to maintain social distance, regardless of vaccination status.”
“Our challenge is the six-towns-operating-in-unity goal,” Poole said. “And that takes time even if we agree.”
Meanwhile, the boards of health reported 10 new COVID cases Tuesday, nine from the hospital and one from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) for a total of 23 since Sunday.
Updated with new COVID cases. — Ed.