A document providing guidance for handling the coming summer season on Cape Cod amid the COVID-19 pandemic has left some Mashpee selectmen confused. The document was composed by state and regional officials with apparent input from the local level.
During the virtual meeting of the selectmen on Monday, May 4, Town Manager Rodney C. Collins said he received a call from state Senator Julian A. Cyr on April 27 but did not have a draft of the document in time for the board’s last meeting.
“What I was hoping to do was get the board of selectmen to review this for your thoughts,” Mr. Collins said. The document was published before the board met again.
Selectwoman Carol A. Sherman raised concerns that the document led to confusion.
“It’s confusing to people. I had a couple of calls myself, ‘Who should we listen to? Should we listen to the county, should we listen to this one?’” Ms. Sherman said. “This article is apparently giving everybody in the business confusion, we need to have one person which right now is Governor [Charles D.] Baker [Jr.].”
The two-page document states that while the region has been “successful in limiting the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on our relatively isolated communities,” state and regional health departments say the Cape and islands “remain highly vulnerable to a major surge in new cases due to the highly contagious and insidious nature of this disease and the seasonal nature of our communities that creates an influx in population in the warmer months.”
The guidance reviews state measures already in place, such as the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people; advises postponing nonessential travel; and instructs visitors to bring supplies for a 14-day quarantine if travel to the region is necessary.
“I think the underlying problem is that this is all confusing,” selectmen chairman Andrew R. Gottlieb said.
“You’ve got a lot of people out there trying to be helpful, whether it’s the local chambers [of commerce], the Cape and Islands Chamber [of Commerce], the hospitals, and trying to put out a consistent message,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “What the future looks like is confusing.”
Part of the confusion cited by Ms. Sherman centered around the extent to which local officials, including Town Manager Collins, were involved.
Selectman Thomas O’Hara said, “It’s very disappointing to hear this right now because initially when we heard this, I thought that Rodney [Collins] had been a part of this action, nobody had any input on this.”