New Shoreham Town Council tentatively schedules vote on indoor mask mandate for Thursday

NEW SHOREHAM, RI (WLNE) – The town council on Block Island is leaning towards re-instating an indoor mask mandate.

During a New Shoreham Town Council meeting Monday night it was decided an emergency ordinance requiring the mandate should be drafted.

Over the last two weeks there have been 11 COVID-19 cases traced back to the island and three of those cases were people who were vaccinated, according to the Medical Director for the Block Island Medical Center,

A vote on the indoor mask mandate is tentatively scheduled for Thursday night.

ABC 6 News spoke to visitors boarding the Block Island Ferry about what they thought about the possibility of masks coming back.

“I’m vaccinated. They told me I don’t have to wear a mask anymore,” Max Sahagian of Narragansett said. “If I didn’t have to two months ago, I don’t see why I would have to now.”

“People are done. We’re so done,” Laura Fox of East Providence said. “It’s not worth it, no one is going to be doing that.”

Many visitors were opposed of the idea of masks being required indoors again, but some who live and work on the island felt differently.

“I don’t think they realize that the virus follows people to Block Island,” Kim Mahoney said.

Mahoney’s family owns a business on Block Island and she wants officials to bring masks back as cases start to rise.

“People are feeling, ‘okay, I’ve got the vaccine’, but yet masks are still so important when you’re in a store or when you’re in a crowded area because the variant is real,” Mahoney said.

Data from the R.I. Department of Health shows since March of 2020, there have only been 55 total cases of COVID on the island. While 11 new cases in two weeks is pretty significant, health officials say there’s also been a ton of visitors.

While some of those visitors feel pretty strongly, others say as long as the beach is open, they’re happy.

“It’s kind of sad, but I feel like we’re already used to it. It’s not a huge deal. We’re willingly cooperative so we’ll wear a mask if we are in close quarters indoors.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island