MARTHA'S VINEYARD — The towns of Martha's Vineyard have come together to issue a stay-in-place order after two positive tests for coronavirus were detected on the island. The order goes into effective as of midnight Tuesday night in Edgartown and is in effect through noon on April 7 unless amended. The order has also been approved to go into effect Tuesday or Wednesday in Chillmark, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury, and has been provisionally approved in Aquinnah.
Residents are required to stay at their place of residence at all times unless obtaining essential services. Violations could result in a $1,000 fine.
The Health Department order in Edgartown said that because the towns of Martha's Vineyard are part of an island community, with only one hospital that has a limitation of 25 beds, the towns have limited resources to provide medical care in the case of an island-wide outbreak. On Saturday, Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Martha's Vineyard Hospital combined to issue joint statement asking that residents limit their movement and interaction with other people on the island, while asking non-residents not to travel to the island.
Businesses that provide essential resources, or those whose employees can work exclusively from home, will be allow to continue to operate. All public and private gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.
The order states that healthcare services expressly excludes fitness and exercise gyms, yoga studios, and similar facilities, which must close. Operation of hotels, motels and the leasing of residences is only permitted for the purpose of providing shelter and lodging to people in accord with contractual agreements already in effect for people in the towns as of March 24, or in the event that temporary residences are needed for persons in the townhouse residences are subject to quarantine, to house non-residents providing essential government operations or health care services, or as overflow from healthcare operations as may be needed.
Restaurants that served food, which were open as of March 24, will be able to operate as long as they are limited to take-out and curbside pick-up only. Schools providing food to students may continue to do so as long as it is not consumed on premises, or at any other gathering.
Other exceptions include those obtaining essential services for family members, those providing essential services for minors, the elderly and pets. Residents will also be able to engage in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running and surfing, as long as they practice social-distancing guidelines.
Other non-essential in-home and exterior services, including housecleaning, landscaping and cosmetic trade work, are prohibited.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health in its daily update announced two more deaths related to COVID-19, upping the total to 11. The DPH also revealed 1,159 confirmed cases in an expected, yet still jarring uptick,from 777 Monday.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been increasing dramatically as testing expands and the virus spreads. The number of tests administered is now at 13,749, nearly 5,000 more
than Monday. The majority of tests have taken place at hospitals or in private labs, rather than the state lab.