West Tisbury issues mask advisory

West Tisbury has issued a mask advisory. — Rich Saltzberg

West Tisbury issued a mask advisory during the town’s board of health meeting on Thursday, May 26. West Tisbury health agent Omar Johnson told The Times the letter has been signed and is “verbatim” to the letter sent out by Tisbury on Tuesday, May 17. All of the Island towns have issued mask advisories, with the exception of Aquinnah.

Johnson said the number of people who follow the advisory is “going to be mixed.”

“The challenge we face on the Island is it’s a vacation place. We have individuals staying for different lengths of time, and they may not be in tune with what is happening at the local level,” Johnson said. Many tourists will have what Johnson called “vacation mind,” and will be less inclined to do things that restrict them. 

Businesses will also most likely be mixed on whether they encourage the advisory or not, Johnson continued. 

Martha’s Vineyard has had a surge of COVID cases and is considered at “high risk” for spread. The Steamship Authority had to close its Oak Bluffs terminal shortly after opening because of COVID. 

According to CDC guidelines for high-risk communities, individuals should protect themselves by wearing masks indoors, staying up-to-date with COVID vaccines and boosters, getting tested if they have symptoms, and taking added precautions if they’re in one of the high-risk categories.