Block Island Times

Council passes ordinance requiring facemasks in public

After months of lockdown, sheltering-in-place, social distancing and other factors associated with the pandemic, the members of the Town Council found itself in a battle on one more front: island visitors not wearing masks. After a lengthy discussion on Wednesday, June 24, the council passed an emergency ordinance amendment which went into immediate effect requiring everyone on island to wear a mask while in a public place or face a $50 fine.
It was not an easy discussion. Cindy Lasser of the Chamber pushed for it, while Police Chief Vin Carlone said that there were other, more pressing issues, such as an increase in substance abuse, that his department was dealing with. He was also concerned with enforcement issues.
Lasser, who participated in the council’s meeting on Wednesday, June 24, sounded both anxious and frustrated as she described the number of people coming off the ferry and gathering at Old Harbor who were not wearing masks. She said she also has noticed that people, when they enter the Visitor Center, have a little more “edge” in their attitudes about wearing masks than earlier in the season.
Carlone, however, said the town was facing issues on yet another front

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