After two months of having all of our lives turned upside down from COVID-19, we are peering at summer just over the horizon. No one can quite imagine what it will look like. No matter where we live, we are experiencing the angst of trying to find some semblance of normal. No one can say definitively what is the next right thing to do. The new normal feels like anything but.
People who own summer homes on the islands are trying to figure out what is the right thing to do in terms of coming here. Of the people I’ve been in touch with, those who are coming from out of state are not complaining about the governor’s guidelines of a 14-day quarantine. There have been a number of questions about having visitors come for a stay of less than two weeks, though. Are they still allowed to come? The answer is yes, but they will be expected to quarantine during their stay.
In a March 20 publication, the selectmen of our town “strongly suggest” that anyone “from away” quarantine for 14 days after they get here. This implies people coming from other counties in Maine are “from away.” Our own children told us a few weeks ago they would probably not make it up here this summer because of these quarantine guidelines. With the state of Maine relaxing some of their restrictions starting in May, I have to believe that the selectmen will update the town guidelines at their meeting next week.
Another question: Do any of us have to restart our quarantines after we’ve had a visit from family/friends from out of state? I don’t know the answer. I’m not sure there is one.
What I do know, and I hope it is reassuring, is that quarantining on the island is pretty simple. It basically means avoiding the public for two weeks. You already know there are plenty of places to go while still avoiding the public, and that includes fishing from your own boat. It’s pretty much the same thing most of us have been doing for the last eight weeks no matter where we live, so it shouldn’t be a big change for anyone. Several of us on the island have offered help in terms of picking up groceries at the dock and retrieving trash for people while they quarantine.
Bruce and I have not left Islesford since March 11. Luckily, there are many options for getting groceries delivered to the island. Online ordering options include Amazon, Thrive Market, and Misfit Market, to name a few. We’ve had great luck with Cranberry General and Pine Tree Market for groceries.
At Pine Tree, Aaron and Erin have also encouraged people on the islands to order, by the case, items from one of their less expensive suppliers. It has been easy to find friends who want to split a case of flour, sugar, and oatmeal.
Things are ramping up at the co-op store. There are weekly dairy deliveries, meat and produce, and there is always lobster for dinner. So far, getting groceries has not been the problem I feared it would be a month ago.
At the post office, because of the size of the lobby, only one person is allowed inside at a time. If you are mailing a big package, you have to put it on a bench in front of the window and then step back outside while Joy comes out of her office and picks it up. It’s a USPS do-si-do! No one is allowed in the town office yet, but Denise and Jim are usually there working, so you can reach them by phone.
Like everywhere else we’ve all learned different ways to do business to try to stay safe from the virus.
If you come to the island, do your best to stay healthy and keep others protected, just as you are probably now doing wherever you are.
Barbara Fernald lives on Islesford (Little Cranerry Island).