Letter to Nantucket Seasonal Residents:
*please note clarification below at end of letter
On behalf of everyone at the Town of Nantucket, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce, we hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. As you consider a return to the island we wanted to reach out to our seasonal residents with some guidance and best practices to ensure that the summer will be as safe as possible for everyone on Nantucket.
While you have been away, much has transpired on the island. Early in January Nantucket Cottage Hospital and the Town of Nantucket leadership initiated their planning and response to the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. In a sweeping effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 on the island, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, the Town of Nantucket government departments, and State leaders led major initiatives to protect the health of Nantucket residents.
The really good news: Spring is here, flowers abound, your homes wait for your return, and so far, the island has largely been spared from the catastrophic spread of COVID-19. As an island community we have been successful in limiting the extent of the impact of the coronavirus on Nantucket by implementing early and vigilant physical distancing measures, as well as the collective actions of our citizens, and the relative isolation of our island. However, we are concerned that could change when our population increases going into the summer.
The opportunity: Nantucket has the chance to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic as a public health success story, with our population safe and healthy. But despite our initial success, Nantucket remains highly vulnerable to infected persons and asymptomatic carriers of the virus coming from off the island, whether they are seasonal residents, year-round residents, workers or day-trippers, who could prompt a major surge in new cases.
How you can be part of this: We are asking the beloved members of our community who will be returning to Nantucket in the coming weeks and months to please take the following actions to ensure the safety of your community:
- Self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days once reaching your destination. It is best to go directly to your destination and not stop elsewhere on the island on the way.
- Bring all necessary food and supplies with you to enable the 14-day quarantine, including prescriptions, personal health items and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Contact Nantucket Cottage Hospital by calling 508-825-1000 if you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms or experiencing respiratory illness during or after quarantine to receive instructions on accessing appropriate care.
- Comply with all local, state, and federal directives and recommendations regarding physical distancing and other measures to limit the spread of the virus.
- Wear face masks in public places when physical distancing is difficult.
- Refrain from hosting or attending private home parties or large gatherings. Instead, order take-out food or have it delivered from local restaurants.
- Be diligent with hand-washing and disinfecting much-used surfaces.
- Limit trips to the grocery store.
To help make this easy for all: Many island businesses have already adapted to the unfolding situation by offering things like curbside pickup, takeout meals, and limiting the number of patrons inside their locations. We encourage you to take advantage of these options and abide by these limitations that are meant to protect all of us. There are also new delivery options that will allow you to support the local island businesses and restaurants you love from the safety and comfort of your home, as well as virtual visit options with medical providers at Nantucket Cottage Hospital that provide access from your phone or computer. The Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of available food and drink options and ways to support local businesses, on its website. As we progress through the summer, there are likely to be more services provided via delivery or by video conference in order to maintain physical distancing.
We are looking forward to welcoming the many people who help make Nantucket a special place. We know this season will be unlike any that came before it, and it will take some time for all of us to adjust to the new normal. We want to ensure that the measures which have so far kept our community safe are embraced and practiced by all those coming to Nantucket.
In closing, thank you for weighing all of this information as you consider a return to the island. We look forward to being back together again as soon as possible in a safe and responsible manner.
Gary A. Shaw, FACHE, President & CEO, Nantucket Cottage Hospital
Dawn Hill Holdgate, Chair, Nantucket Select Board
C. Elizabeth Gibson, Town Manager, Town of Nantucket
Kristie Ferrantella, Interim President, Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce
- (April 29, 2020) This letter to seasonal residents from the Town of Nantucket, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce that was released on Monday, April 27, appears to be causing confusion related to the scope of recommendations and its intent. Together, we feel it is important to clarify that the recommendation regarding quarantine for those travelling to Massachusetts pertains only to the timeframe of Governor Baker’s orders which have now been extended through May 18 and was intended as information only for seasonal residents of Nantucket planning to return to the island while the orders are in place. It was not intended to reflect recommendations related to hotel occupancy and short-term rentals. Those recommendations will be updated as information is released from the Governor’s office. We ask everyone to use personal discretion in your behavior when assessing your level of risk to others and limit your interactions accordingly, following directives for travel set forth by the CDC, state and local authorities.