NEW SHOREHAM – People living on Block Island would be ordered to stay at home for 14 days to help limit the spread of the new coronavirus, under an amendment to an emergency ordinance the Town Council is expected to vote on Monday night.
A violation of the proposed order could lead to arrest and a misdemeanor charge as a criminal offense, a fine up to $500 and potential jail time. The council meeting is set for 7 p.m.
No COVID-19 cases have been reported on the island, but town officials and some residents are eager to see the number of people coming to or leaving the island restricted.
New Shoreham officials previously declared a state of emergency effective until April 15. Under that order, most town employees are on paid administrative leave, bars and restaurants are restricted to takeout, and gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.
Nonresidents and second-home owners have been discouraged from traveling to Block Island, where medical resources and supplies are limited. Full-time residents of the island up until now have been urged to limit travel to the mainland to essential trips.
“It is important for our local community to address this issue now, so we can move forward later with all of the benefits one expects and has come to enjoy on Block Island,” said Jessica Willi, director of the Block Island Tourism Council. “When the time comes, we will be ready, willing and able to eagerly welcome all our guests back.”
(UPDATES throughout with details on planned vote.)
Staff writer Elizabeth Graham contributed to this report.
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