Shelter Island Reporter editorial: Safety first at Town Hall

Shelter Island has had tight controls in place since planning first started in March 2020 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the Island has had relatively few cases compared to many municipalities.

When it began to look as though New York had the pandemic under control and case numbers were trending sharply downward, we applauded a relaxation of requirements.

A significant number of Islanders have been inoculated, donned masks in public and worked hard to protect themselves, their families and their friends and neighbors.

But the Delta variant has arrived with warnings it’s much more easily transmitted, and even for those who have been inoculated, there are break-through cases.

What’s more, children who had mostly been spared from the initial COVID illness are among those getting sick, being admitted to hospitals and, sadly, some are succumbing to the Delta variant.

In the past week, we’ve been hearing about the Mu variant with warnings from doctors that other variants are anticipated, unless the existing two are brought under control. That means vaccinations for all whose medical conditions allow the inoculations and a return to tight precautions.

The Town Hall meeting room is small. When a crowd arrives to discuss any controversial issue, it’s filled to capacity and sometimes overflows into the hallway.

Most people attending aren’t wearing masks, including Town Board members, and with a crowd in a small area, social distancing is impossible. Even with masks, there is no guarantee you won’t get sick.

Until the variants flaring in many areas are under control, we believe in-person meetings pose an unreasonable danger to the community.

Everyone yearns for a return to normalcy, but the faster we get COVID and its variants under control, the sooner that can happen.