Town Council considering ordinance to require mask wearing on island

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 10:15am

Island residents and businesses concerned about the number of island visitors not wearing masks in public, especially in Old Harbor District where passengers get off of the ferry and congregate in town, addressed those issues with the Town Council at its Wednesday meeting this week. As a response, the council is now considering an island-wide requirement for people to wear facemasks in public while on the island.

“Several of us met with the Department of Health officials, and they were concerned about the situation on Block Island,” said Second Warden André Boudreau.

Boudreau went on to say new regulations will be coming out shortly from the state, and “the state can only do so much given our [location]. We can’t rely on the state to come out here and enforce our rules. We need to have a partnership with them, and our leadership needs to take part in that.”

Lacoste announced the state is doing some inspections around the state, including Block Island, to ensure businesses are in compliance with the Department of Health regulations that have been issued.

Lacoste made a motion to have town attorney Kathy Merolla draft an amendment to the town emergency ordinance requiring masks to be worn in public. Merolla will come back with a draft amendment at Wednesday’s, June 24 council meeting.

Council members also gave Councilor Sven Risom the okay to move forward with his effort to meet ferry passengers at Old Harbor and provide them information and masks.