Monday, June 1st, 2020
Warmer, sunny weather has arrived and the countdown to the summer season is on. It’s important for island visitors to know that Massachusetts is still in the process of re-opening in a four-phase process outlined by Governor Charlie Baker, so what is allowed and what is recommended is still evolving. Phase 2 in the re-opening process is now in effect, so we thought it would be helpful to provide a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we are receiving. We will try to update this post as frequently as possible but will also direct you to the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce for a wealth of additional resources specific to the island.
If you have a specific question that you would like to submit, kindly email your agent directly and we will do our best to answer it in this series.
What are the major differences for Part 1 of Phase 2?
Phase 2 officially started June 8, 2020. While there are many changes from Phase 1, the biggest ones included outdoor dining at restaurants (with restrictions), retail stores opening at reduced capacity and the opening of outdoor recreation including pools, playgrounds and driving ranges.
Are the ferries running?
The ferries are currently operating on a reduced schedule, but are adding more trips as the season progresses. For the most up-to-date schedules, visit nantucketferries.com We encourage all visitors to confirm pre-existing reservations and check the ferry’s respective websites for the most up to date travel and safety guidance.
Is it safe to ride the ferries?
In addition to the regular cleaning of vessels between every trip, Steamship Authority crew members, bus drivers, parking lot attendants and terminal employees are disinfecting all hand railings, tabletops, door handles, seats, faucets, and toilets both in between trips and during trips as needed. “We are well-stocked with cleaning supplies and have ordered extra hand sanitizers and other supplies for our customers to use while traveling with us,” the boat line said on its website.
Passengers are required to wear masks when boarding, disembarking and traveling inside all ferries, per Governor Baker.
Is the airport open?
Nantucket Airport remains open with revised carrier schedules. Cape Air is operating on a reduced schedule and JetBlue has delayed seasonal service until at least July 1. We encourage you to check in with your airline well ahead of any planned trip to the island. There are also several private charter companies that offer service to Nantucket.
If I am arriving from out of state, do I have to self-quarantine for 14 days?
Governor Baker is still encouraging that all out-of-state visitors to Massachusetts to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days. There are many island resources (including curbside pickup, delivery services etc.) that can help visitors abide by the recommended quarantine period. See our Resource Guide for helpful tips.
Will I be welcome when I get to the Island?
Yes, the island thrives thanks to our seasonal visitors and homeowners. We encourage social responsibility and the observance of state and local guidelines for wearing masks in public, social distancing, and understanding that this summer will be different from anything we’ve seen before. We are all navigating this unique time but know that Nantucket is one of the best places to get out and enjoy the natural environment that surrounds us.
What are the rules about wearing masks?
Wearing a mask is required inside all business establishments and outside whenever you are unable to stay at least six feet from others.
What about summer events? Will there be things to do?
Yes, while some signature events have been postponed, there is still so much to do! There are plans for a drive-in movie theatre and the beaches, trails and harbor are all open for family events and enjoyment of alternative summer traditions. And many businesses are working diligently to offer creative programming this summer. For instance, the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club is offering virtual events and many other businesses are unrolling new operating plans as they receive state guidance so it is a fluid situation.
Can I go to the beach?
Definitely. Luckily, we are surrounded by water and beaches so there should be plenty of space for everyone to keep 12 feet apart! Phase 2 also indicates there should be no beach gatherings with more than 10 people in a group, and beach games are not yet allowed. Check our beach guide for recommended beaches based on conditions.
Can I ride my bike?
Yes, on roads and trails where it is ordinarily allowed, with consideration for traffic, pedestrians and other cyclists.
Are Island trails open for hiking?
With over 50 percent of the island in conservation, there is ample opportunity to get outside! Properties managed by the Land Bank and Nantucket Conservation Foundation are open for hiking. Hikers should follow posted rules and stay at least six feet from others. Read more about our amazing conservation organizations and explore this list of our favorite trails.
What other activities are allowed?
Golf courses are open, charter fishing is permitted and many businesses are quickly adapting to offer additional options. All of the trails and beaches are open and many of your favorite businesses are offering virtual programming until there is another plan in place.
Are restaurants open?
Outdoor table service is now allowed. Restaurants will be authorized at a later date and by a subsequent Phase 2 Order to commence indoor table service if the public health data reflects continued positive progression. In the meantime, most all Nantucket restaurants are open for curbside pickup and some offer home delivery. Click here for our dining resource guide or this searchable map from the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce.
What about grocery stores and farm stands?
All of the grocery stores and farm stands are open. Please check individual websites for senior hours and curbside options by clicking here.
Are buses and taxis operating?
Nantucket Regional Transit Authority buses run seven days a week. Schedules are posted at http://nrtawave.com/index.php
Taxi services also are operating. Masks are required on all bus, taxi and share rides such as Lyft and Uber.
What should I do if I show symptoms of Covid-19? Is medical care available for non-virus issues?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose or nasal congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches or a loss of your sense of smell, please come to the drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance of Nantucket Cottage Hospital, 57 Prospect Street. There is no need to call ahead. The evaluation site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Nantucket Cottage Medical Group offers same-day and next-day medical appointments Monday through Saturday. These appointments are designated for everyday ailments and non-life-threatening conditions, and available to all patients on a first-come, first-served basis. To book an appointment, please call 508-825-1066.