“We’re starting to move toward normalcy,” Police Chief Jim Read told the Town Board at Tuesday’s work session.
But with that good news and all trend lines dropping to about 1%, he said Islanders are struggling with the same difficulties the rest of the country is experiencing since the new guidelines were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It would appear that HIPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules would not allow business owners to ask people to prove they’ve been inoculated against COVID-19. But that leaves everyone questioning whether the people near them have completed their vaccine regimen or are simply not wearing masks for health or any other reasons.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the chief said he will continue to mask-up when indoors and would certainly do so at places like the IGA, despite the fact that he’s been vaccinated. How stores might handle separating those allowed without masks from those who haven’t been vaccinated and should still be wearing masks, is not determined, the chief said.
For now, at least, the FIT Center will continue to require that users wear masks, Chief Read said.
Social distancing is still in place, requiring a 6-foot distance from others who haven’t been vaccinated, Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams said. At the same time, the state is going to allow businesses to operate at 100% capacity. But given the 6-foot rule, many places would not be able to accommodate full occupancy, the chief said.
It’s expected Town Hall employees will continue to wear masks and Supervisor Gerry Siller said plexiglass protection is still in place.
As for opening meetings at Town Hall, it’s likely to be a combination of Zoom for those who prefer it, or who are not vaccinated, and some in-person meetings for the fully vaccinated. There’s nothing that would prohibit anyone from wearing a mask inside or outside, Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr.