The Swan’s Island column this week contains information from our selectmen and others concerning new requests and procedures about travelling to our beautiful island.With events so restricted at this time, I will focus on highlighting members of our community in upcoming weeks, emphasizing the unity between year–round and seasonal residents.
We thank State Representative Genevieve McDonald for assisting with our efforts to establish safety protocol for the ferry crews by reaching out to the Department of Transportation (DOT) this past week.Here is the response she received from the DOT: “We are asking passengers to remain in their vehicles. We are asking passengers to practice social distancing if they are in the cabins. Effective today [Wednesday, March 18],we stopped physically collecting tickets and will ask the agents to visually inspect them and ask the passenger to rip the tickets in front of the agent.We have updated cleaning and sanitizing protocols in place on the vessels and in the terminal.The vessels are cleaned before every trip and the terminals are cleaned every four hours with the ticket window and credit card terminals cleaned hourly.”These measures help to ensure the safety of the passengers, ferry crews and terminal personnel; let us continue to create safer environments for each other in every area of our lives.
We thank our selectmen and other community leaders in establishing some guidelines for our Island community: “On Tuesday, March 17, the selectmen called an emergency meeting with the following individuals: Robert Gardner, Fire Chief; Debbie Staples, EMS Director; Sonja Philbrook, EMS Assistant Director; Donna Wiegle, health officer; Charles Wiegle, Emergency Management Director; Rob Morang, Hancock County Sheriff’s Office; Kathy Clark, Ferry Advisory Committee; Terry Staples, food pantry; Bryan Krafjack, The Island Market and Supply; Sonny Sprague, Gary Turner, Jason Joyce, selectmen; Karen Griffin, administrative assistant to selectmen. We addressed COVID-19 and it impact on this island
“There is much we can do as a community to prepare for and to lessen the impact on our island. This virus is particularly hard on our older generation. We must remember that it is extremely important that our volunteers and members of our community that serve us stay healthy. Our goal is to minimize the impact,but we cannot do it alone. The following are guidelines/suggestions on how to proceed forward:
(1) Discourage all unnecessary off Island travel by islanders.
(2) Discourage all unnecessary daily travel from the mainland.
(3) If travel is necessary, please follow the most recent Maine Center of Disease Control (MCDC) recommendations for travel. (If possible,return the same day.)
(4) We request that all residents returning from extended trips off island to voluntarily self–quarantine for two weeks.
(5) Island residents who work and stay on the mainland but return to the Island on the weekend should self-quarantine on weekend.
(6) All off island day contractor working on the island are restricted to the job site. Once work day is completed, return to the ferry line for departure.
(7) Contractors with longer stays (weekly) are to restrict travel while on the island to the work site. At the end of work, return to the ferry line for departure.
(8) Remain in your car while on the ferry. Do not visit with crew while crossing. The Town is serviced by the Maine State Ferry Service that has a limited number of certified Captains, Engineers and Able Bodied Seamen to operate the ferry. Their health is extremely important. We cannot lose our ferry service.
(9) Suggestion: If at all possible,purchase additional ferry tickets. This would greatly lessen congestion at the Ferry Terminal. Our terminal agents cannot get sick.
(10) Check the Swan’s Island Information Page and Town Office Page on Face Book for daily updates. (This is very important).
(11) Reminder: Washing hands and surfaces is absolutely necessary.
“Terry Staples posted on Facebook the following: ‘Today, with God’s grace, we will make it through these troubled times. Be safe, do not panic, and always show love and kindness to all.’This is our belief as well.”
A second letter from the selectmen, dated March 20, 2020, requests the following: “To those of you who own a summer home on Swan’s Island and are arriving earlier than usual, we ask you to please contact the Town Office at (207) 526-4279 or Karen at (207)669-0940 upon arrival. Visitors with extensive stays are asked to do the same.Reason: We welcome you to your summer home, but we recognize you are travelling from locations where COVID-19 is spreading quickly. For your safety and ours, we would like to be aware of your presence. We further request that upon arrival, you maintain a 14-day quarantine in place. Thank you.”
The Island Market and Supply (TIMS) requests that “if you are arriving on the Island for the first time this season, as a precaution please do not enter the store.We’ll be happy to bring you what you need; message us or call(207)526-4043. The rule of thumb is to self-quarantine for a two-week period.”
Happy birthday to Jessica DeFrenn, Meimei White, Kurt Tamulonis and Bonnie Staples.
If you have news to share, please email or call me by Sunday noon if you need it to be included in the following edition. Email me at [email protected] or call me at (207) 526-4488.