Islesboro urges residents to strictly limit travel to mainland

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Mar 23, 2020
Source: Facebook

Islesboro — The Islesboro Select Board passed a resolution Friday requesting that residents follow Centers for Disease Control recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and limit trips off the island as much as possible.

Town Manager Janet Anderson said Monday that the board wanted to take some action in response to an order passed by selectmen on North Haven March 15 banning non-residents from traveling to that island, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. That order has since been rescinded by the town and replaced with a resolution which, according to the North Haven website, "strongly encourages people not to travel."

Anderson said Islesboro officials had been getting questions about whether they would ban non-residents from coming there, and wanted to be clear about their stance. The March 20 resolution urges residents to maintain hand hygiene — especially upon returning home, to practice social distancing when away from home, and to get outside for solitary exercise.

It requests that islanders travel to and from the mainland "for essential reasons only," and to think carefully about what is "essential." Commuters are asked to follow Maine State Ferry guidelines and to maintain social distancing from others. In addition, mainlanders who suspect that they may have been exposed to the virus are asked not to come to Islesboro. The full resolution can be read on the town website.

Anderson said the island's health center had been preparing for the arrival of the virus for about a month. Both she and Select Board Chairman Arch Gillies said the Islesboro Economic Sustainability Corp., a quasi-public nonprofit established last November, would be helping residents cope with some of the changes in their lives brought on by the coronavirus.

Roger Heinen, who heads the IESC's board, said by email Monday that the organization is preparing "a two part immediate response. First, we think we can muster a legal and finance team to help on-island small businesses apply for financial help available from state and federal sources. IESC will offer to pay for some or all of this help. We are working on the details. Second, once an application has been accepted and (is) payable, our thinking will turn to offering modest bridge loans at little or no interest to get money in the applicant’s hand quickly while awaiting the gears of the governments to turn. Though we don’t know of any island small businesses suffering today, we expect that to change in the next week to 10 days."

Heinen also said the Islesboro Community Fund is gearing up to help people with health care, food and fuel.

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