NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus and a limited supply of medical resources, the New Shoreham Town Council has issued a shelter-in-place order for Block Island.
Jessica Willi, executive director of the Block Island Tourism Council, sent out a notice Tuesday that the town is “actively discouraging” visitors and second homeowners from coming to the island.
Anyone who is currently on the island or in transit must adhere to the order, which will remain in effect until April 15, Willi said. Any person who crosses over to Block Island must immediately self-quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival, and thereafter must shelter-in-place.
The council is concerned about the amount of people who have flocked to the island to escape their primary residence, according to Willi. She said the island has “limited medical resources and a limited supply of medical equipment, medical personnel, personal protective devices and medicines to treat potential COVID-19 cases.”
Full-time residents are asked to restrict off-island travel to essential purposes only such as medical care or care of a family member.
All restaurants, bars and town offices are currently closed to the public, Willi noted, while hotels, inns and house rentals are to stop taking reservations and cancel all reservations already on the books.
“It is important for our local community to address this issue now so we can move forward later with all the benefits one expects and has come to enjoy on Block Island,” she added.
Visit the town of New Shoreham’s website to learn more.