By Kristina Rex

NANTUCKET (CBS) – Some summer residents are heading to Nantucket to social distance themselves in their vacation homes during the coronavirus pandemic. But that’s not sitting well with people who live there year-round.

Nantucket doesn’t have any confirmed cases of Covid-19 yet, but has 8 tests out waiting for results to come back. After an emergency select board meeting, the island will stop work at all construction sites starting at the end of the day Friday.

With an increase in visitors, full-time Nantucket residents are worried about contamination and resources. The island only has two grocery stores and one small hospital.

In a statement to the community on Tuesday, March 17, Nantucket Cottage Hospital president Gary Shaw wrote, in part, “[Our hospital] is not built for a global pandemic and no hospital is. We do not have an intensive care unit at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and we have limited number of ventilators. We are working with limited medical resources and personnel on our small island… if we do have critical patients who need access to an intensive care unit, there is a very real possibly that if we see a surge of cases of Covid-19, we may not be able to be transfer by MedFlight helicopter to Boston hospitals because most likely they will be at capacity with their own patients at that time as well. That is simply our reality.”

Ferries to and from the island had been running on their regular schedule, but Hy-Line announced they will be reducing the amount of people they allow to board their ferries so people can practice social distancing.

Both ferry services are owned by private companies and, therefore, service cannot be shut down by Nantucket’s government.

Multiple people and families boarded the ferries Wednesday to head to their vacation homes for this period of isolation and working from home. None would speak on the record with WBZ-TV.

Year-round island residents don’t like it.

“They should shut [the ferry] down,” said Eric H, who lives on Nantucket and works in construction. “Why Jersey? Why New York? Why should they be showing up on the island? It’s not their bomb shelter,” he added.

Kristina Rex

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