HYANNIS (CBS) – This coming Saturday will mark two weeks since the Fourth of July, enough time for local lawmakers to see if a busy holiday weekend caused a spike in COVID-19 cases on Cape Cod.
“I’m not going to breathe a sigh of relief until Wednesday July 22 because that will give us a full two week plus window,” State Senator Julian Cyr told WBZ. The Cape and Islands Reopening Committee met virtually Thursday morning to discuss summer tourism and its potential impact on virus spread.
As seaside towns in Rhode Island see the fastest growing COVID-19 cases in months following crowded beaches on July 4, virus numbers on Cape Cod are still relatively low. “I think we are where we are because the public is largely complying with public health guidelines,” Cyr told WBZ.
Restaurants and shops are taking every precaution to guarantee safety, but there’s no doubt the pandemic and nice weather have pushed people to the beaches. “It certainly feels [like more than usual], yes,” Sandwich Selectboard member Dave Sampson told WBZ. “We’re still seeing a very busy season especially from July 4 forward.”
Regular summer residents have noticed a change, too. “Early on in the summer there were hardly any people down here on Main [Street] and now it’s almost like everything is back to normal,” Gerry Gil said. “Fifty percent of the people have masks on, which is a good thing and a bad thing. I think everyone should have masks on to protect each other.”
Still, people from states far away are escaping to the Cape and Islands. Bianca Simons came to visit from South Florida. “It’s definitely been different from being in the epicenter,” she told WBZ. “There’s definitely more precautions with the masks [here] that I really appreciate.”
Local lawmakers say they are confident virus numbers have stayed so low to date because of people’s compliance with the state’s mask order, and hope to see that trend continues through the busy tourism months.