I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether homeowners should return to the island and, if they are already in the Pines, how to conduct themselves. As I have reported in previous newsletters, FIPPOA collaborates on a weekly call, organized by the Fire Island Association, with the other Fire Island communities and the authorities from Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven. Based on our discussions with the other communities, our recommendations are:
If you are not yet on Fire Island:
- Stay in place. Governor Cuomo has said that staying in place and avoiding travel are the most effective means of reducing transmission of the virus. Remember, the virus can be transmitted by people who are symptomatic, as well as those who are asymptomatic
- Do not come to the Pines if you are sick with cold or COVID-19 symptoms
If you choose to return to Fire Island:
- Wear a mask on the ferry and plan your trip on a weekday. Starting today (April 17), the Governor’s Executive Order mandates that everyone in New York State is required wear a face covering or mask in public when social distancing is difficult. This includes the ferry and all public areas of the Pines. Also, it is easier to maintain social distancing on weekdays when the boat is less crowded and there are fewer packages to unload.
- Self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. A directive from the White House of March 24 advises all Americans to self-isolate after any travel.
If you are already on Fire Island:
- Maintain social distancing at all times. This includes embarking and disembarking from the ferry, picking up packages, getting supplies from the Pantry or Liquor Store, traveling on the boardwalks, sitting on the docks, walking up and down the steps to the beach, etc.
- Wear a mask at all times in public where it is not possible to distance yourself, in keeping with the Executive Order.
What is it like in the Pines?
I have been asked to report on daily life in the Pines. I have received emails that residents are maintaining social distancing on the public walks. I also have reports of high-risk gatherings of people on the decks of houses and on the docks at sunset. I’m asking all Pines residents to adhere to the Executive Order and follow all CDC recommendations to protect ourselves and fellow residents alike.
The Pines Pantry is open Wednesday to Sunday. The staff is doing an excellent job of keeping it well stocked and processing orders. Similarly, the staff at the Pines Liquor Shop is doing their best to help everyone. For the most part they get it right. One resident reported ordering sherry vinegar and getting sherry cooking wine instead. But some crises are more important right now than others!
The FIMI work continues. The vehicle crossover at Coast Guard Walk should be complete next week. The roadway at Coast Guard will be closed today and tomorrow to allow this work. As for the walks, we expect the aluminum handrail work to begin in another week. All of the work is on track to be completed by the end of April. The stairs and walks will be reopened at the end of April.
I am aware that this is a very difficult time for residents. It is a difficult time for all. Indeed, it seems to me that this is one of the worst crises our country has experienced in my lifetime. I would like to quote from the Queen’s speech last week on the epidemic, when she expressed the wish that “in the future everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.” An excellent comment for us all.