Massachusetts Governor Baker’s recent emergency order for non-essential businesses to shut down will not affect the Chappaquiddick Ferry. Maritime transportation workers and those that maintain the vessels and infrastructure are specifically listed among essential services. The ferry will still run on the winter schedule. That is, weather permitting, the ferry operates continuously from 6:30 a.m. through 10 p.m., then again from 11:00 to 11:15 p.m.

In order to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus aboard the Chappy Ferry I have posted signs in English and Portuguese asking travelers to respect a six-foot buffer around the ferry captains and to ride on the side of the ferry opposite the pilot house. We have adjusted the way that we collect fares to reduce contact between ferry captains and vehicle drivers. We’re having people show us their tickets through their rolled-up windows and then gesturing for them to rip up the tickets themselves and keep the pieces. We have also stopped giving out the laminated return cards that were passed repeatedly from person to person during the day. Instead we give a fresh one-way paper return ticket that they can rip up for us upon their return.

Events at the Chappaquiddick Community Center are canceled until further notice. However, the CCC board has organized a group of volunteers to pick up groceries or medications for any elderly or persons with health problems on Chappy who wish to minimize interpersonal contact. Instructions on how to sign-up are posted on the CCC porch along with a sign-up list for requests.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 25, for major work on the Chappy Ferry ramp. On that day, we plan to remove the old ramp on the Edgartown side and to replace it with a brand new one. In case of a storm on that date, the project will be done the following Saturday, May 2. We will be unable to carry vehicles from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. as there will be no way to get them on or off of the ferry. However, foot passengers will be accommodated throughout the day.

Leaders across the Island are having to make difficult decisions about dealing with our current crisis. The issues that they are facing, the solutions that they are devising and the results that they are hoping for, are all in uncharted territory. As Teddy Roosevelt said: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”