Town Manager, First Warden caution: Follow the rules

Thu, 04/23/2020 - 6:45pm
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Both the Town Manager and First Warden issued separate statements within the last week asking residents to adhere to guidelines included in the town’s emergency ordinance as more people head back to work.

Not following the rules could lead to the council revisiting its worker guidelines.

If guidelines are not followed, wrote First Warden Ken Lacoste, “the policy decisions will be forced upon us. By all means please do not put local folks in danger by ‘importing’ the virus through disallowed activity.”

By working in crews of one or two, by practicing social distancing, by not sharing tools or rides, workers will help keep the island healthy.

“One of our goals is to remain relatively isolated from the virus ‘bloom’ on the mainland. The only way we can do that is if everyone who is able to work abide by the strict protocols spelled out in the ordinance dated April 15, 2020,” Lacoste wrote. “This includes masks, social distancing, hand washing and registration with the town. All essential activities and worker activities must register in advance of working.”

Town Manager Jim Kern reminded those who come to the island to stay in isolation for 14 days.

“Anyone arriving to Block Island must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days other than Essential Activity personnel as defined in the ordinance,” Kern stated. “The term ‘self-quarantine’ means that you must proceed from the ferry or airport directly to your residence without making any stops, remain at your residence except for medical care or emergencies, have food and other necessities delivered, and monitor yourself for symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.”

Lacoste also stated that all non-essential workers who come to the island “must quarantine for 14 days” and added “worker Activities can only be performed if one is sheltering-in-place, which means they have finished a quarantine.”

Kern also pointed out that workers thinking of coming to the island will have no place to stay.

“There have been no boarding house licenses issued by the town. There will be none issued until at least May 8. If you don’t have lodging that is allowed under the emergency ordinance you are prohibited from traveling to the island to begin a quarantine period.”

“We can do this, if we do it carefully,” wrote Lacoste.

The town, the state, and the country have each started to have a discussion about how the economy can be safely restarted. In her address on Monday, April 20, Gov. Gina Raimondo noted that tourism has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and said she expected the state’s tourism economy to return at a slower pace than other industries.

All workers must register to perform an essential activity or work activity on Block Island. Essential activities and work activities are defined in paragraph 9 of the emergency ordinance. Registration forms can be found on the homepage of new-shoreham.com.