Council to meet again on allowing some island residents back to work

Sat, 04/11/2020 - 11:30am
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The Town Council will continue its discussion on whether or not to expand its list of essential workers and allow crews of one or two to work in isolation on Monday, April 13 at 3 p.m. After meeting for almost two hours this morning, the council had to balance any decision-making in the context of what Dr. Mark Clark of the Medical Center had to say about the coronavirus situation in the state.

From the medical perspective the risk is extremely high,” said Dr. Clark about the idea of getting less restrictive than what the current town emergency ordinance calls for. “We are still on a steep upward curve. There are 200 cases a day... You have and the community has protected the island through the ordinance you enacted.” But he added that it was “way too early to dismantle that.”

In referencing the proposal that councilor Sven Risom had put forward about allowing micro-crews to work in self-isolation, Dr. Clark said it could be done, although he was not going to speculate as to how.

“Sven's proposal getting people to do some activities that don't break the seal, I don't know how you do that without increasing social contact, without increasing the potential for the infection to arrive here from the mainland. The tricky part will be in the details.” As for dismantling the ordinance, “we're not ready for that and the risk is too great. Finding very smart ways to allow select people and putting them back to work, great.” But Clark put the timeframe for doing anything at the end of April, “but that may be too early as well.”

Councilor Martha Ball said that island residents also should be reminded that when the council revisits the emergency ordinance on April 15, next Wednesday, when it is scheduled to expire, does not mean the ordinance will be set aside.

Gov. Gina Raimondo has ordered a statewide shelter-in-place order to stay in effect until May 8.

This is a developing story. See blockislandtimes.com for updates.