Town rolls up welcome mat

In a dramatic reversal of Block Island’s usual policy of welcoming everyone from everywhere, the Town Council this past week approved an emergency ordinance that essentially shuts down the island for all non-essential activities, cancels reservations at hotels, inns and online rentals, and recommends that all residents shelter in place for 14 days. The order imposes fines and penalties for those who violate the provisions of the ordinance.
The ordinance went into effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 and will be in full force until April 15, unless extended by the council as the COVID-19 medical crisis evolves.
The council, acting on the advice of Dr. Mark Clark, Director of the Block Island Medical Center, made the move to stem the flow of interstate travel to the island in order to keep the COVID-19 virus at bay as effectively as possible.
The remarkable document was initially passed on March 17, but with new COVID-19 developments on a daily if not hourly basis, the council revisited the document on Sunday, March 23 and began adding to and fine-tuning its already existing elements. Town Solicitor Kathy Merolla was tasked

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