Good evening. I am Roberto Santamaria, your host this evening for Nantucket Pulse programming made possible by Nantucket Cottage Hospital Community Health Initiative. This is a special edition of the Nantucket Pulse program that will air weekly covering the coronavirus impacts for the island and will provide urgent updates as they unfold.
Today’s episode is being filmed at 9am on Friday, May 29th. Before we begin, I want to remind our viewers that the Town Election is Tuesday, June 16th and the Annual Town Meeting is Thursday, June 25th. It has been 10 days since the hospital last detected a new confirmed case of COVID-19 on-island. This evening’s episode welcomes back Nantucket Cottage Hospital Public information Officer Jason Graziadei to share a new statement from the hospital. I will also interview moderator of Nantucket’s Annual Town Meeting Sarah Alger and Town Manager Libby Gibson about the plans for Annual Town Meeting and COVID-19 developments. Let’s take a brief rundown of this week’s Community Updates.
At next week’s Board of Health meeting on June 4th, we will officially rescind all Nantucket Emergency Orders except #4. This order extends shellfish licenses until the Town of Nantucket decides the pandemic is contained enough to start issuing new licenses. The Board of Health will issue Emergency Order #10 which codifies the Nantucket-specific restrictions that I mentioned here last week: any combination of construction and landscaping workers on a site can not exceed 6 + 1 COVID officer. If more workers are needed, they may apply to the Building Commissioner or Natural Resources Director for a waiver to use a crew of no more than 10. All workers should abide by Massachusetts Safety Standards for Construction and the Nantucket Guidelines and Rules for Getting Back to Work. Links to these documents are in the description of this video. Order #10 allows curbside pickup and delivery of food from restaurants but prohibits customers from entering the inside of the restaurant itself.
At this week’s Select Board meeting, Nantucket Cottage Hospital President & CEO Gary Shaw underlined the importance of slowing the spread of the disease by following the easy steps of maintaining a social distance of 6 feet, wearing a face-covering when you cannot maintain that distance, staying mindful of COVID-19 symptoms, and washing your hands regularly. He said, “There’s a tremendous amount of personal responsibility here… Some people say there is nothing to worry about it. There is something to worry about.” The commonwealth requires face coverings in public spaces in which one cannot remain socially distant. The police will not enforce this policy; only the Board of Health. Repeat offenders may have to pay a fine of up to $300.
The commonwealth continues to keep closed childcare services that go beyond an employee caring for one family’s children at their house. Nannies and babysitters are allowed. Phase 2, which would start on June 8th at the earliest, will likely open childcare to the public. Summer camps will likely open in that phase as well. The Nantucket Community School has canceled all its sports programs regardless; they plan to continue with their other summer camp programs if Phase 2 allows them. For essential service workers, Nantucket now has 4 daycare providers designated as Exempt Emergency Childcare Programs on Nantucket. To learn more, please visit the link in the description.
The Nantucket Community Foundation’s Fund for Emergency Food Relief is building on the success of the Senior Meal Delivery Program that began March 23rd. It is providing funding to pair island restaurants with different Nantucket nonprofits to provide free, healthy meals to those who need them. To contribute to this generous program please, visit the link in the description.
The pandemic has increased food insecurity on the island. Nearly 400 people have come to the Nantucket Food Pantry looking for help on a single day; that is almost a four-fold increase for their normal traffic. In order to keep up with the demand, they have asked for help from Boston food assistance programs and have recruited more volunteers. Meals on Wheels continues to provide meals to seniors in need 5 nights a week.
Finally, I want to talk about the protocol if someone — whether an employee or visitor — tests positive for the virus and spends more than 15 minutes in a town building. In that case, my department would have everyone leave the building, have the place deep cleaned and sanitized, and then in a day or so, have everyone come back.
We will continue to provide you with updates on the Coronavirus and impacts for Nantucket. Please tune in to Nantucket Pulse, a wellness segment series with new episodes each week. Hosted by Natalie Ciminero, ITS DESIGNED TO CONNECT OUR VIEWERS WITH LOCAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS THAT CAN HELP US TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS AROUND US. You can watch on CHANNEL 18 AND NCTV18.ORG. Please share this with friends and family. It’s important that communications remain in place as events continue to unfold and we all remain connected. It’s crucial to get the facts from your local news sources such as the Inquirer and Mirror, 97.7 ACK FM radio, and NCTV Channel 18. Please stay tuned to see a special message to our essential workers from the community.