By Chincoteague Island Mayor J. Arthur Leonard
The safety of our residents and visitors has been and will continue to be first and foremost with every decision we make. With that being said, we were again briefed by our emergency management team this morning and due to limited emergency medical care in our rural setting and the limited healthcare facilities that we share with our neighboring counties and states, it is time to reduce the number of possible individuals that could require medical care; whether it be from COVID-19 or standard medical emergencies. These resources are likely to be stretched beyond capacity at some point and we must reduce that possibility.
To accomplish this, we are asking all visitors and non-residents to leave Chincoteague Island by noon, March 24, 2020, and those who are planning to come to the island should postpone their trip until further notice. All hotels, motels, cottages, bed and breakfasts, home rental companies, Airbnb’s, and campgrounds are asked to not accept any new reservations until further notice.
As we stated before, the virus may already be in our community, although at this time the only two confirmed cases on the Eastern Shore are not on Chincoteague Island as rumor would have us to believe. You are still the first-line of defense and are going to be the deciding factors on how the spread of COVID-19 effects Chincoteague.
You should stay home as much as possible and please limit your travel off of the island. Definitely stay home if you are sick. Help your neighbor, but don’t make personal contact. Wash or sanitize your hands before entering and leaving local businesses. Remain six feet from other patrons at all times. This includes: when in aisles, waiting to check-out, and ordering. Think of these employees that are there to serve you and give them the space and courtesy they deserve to keep them and their families safe.
These are difficult times, requiring difficult decisions, but together we will overcome this dangerous situation affecting our community, state, and nation.