Shuttered for nearly 15 months, Island town halls are once again swinging their doors open to the public and mulling a return to in-person public meetings as municipal governments — long relegated to Zoom — chart out their own pandemic end dates.

With cases dwindling and the state moving toward a full economic reopening, town governments are following suit across the Island.

All Island town halls are open to the public as of June 1, with varied social distancing restrictions and mask-wearing regulations in place. Residents should still expect to see plexiglass, capacity limits and hand sanitizer stations at their respective town halls.

But the public can now enter all municipal buildings without an appointment, and the vast majority of municipal employees are returning to work in person or in a hybrid capacity.

An executive order issued by Gov. Charlie Baker allowing for public meetings to be held remotely via video conference only due to the pandemic is set to expire June 15. But the governor has filed legislation on Beacon Hill looking to extend that date to Sept. 1.

Although town administrators expect the extension to pass, towns have begun discussions about returning to meetings in-person and over Zoom in the upcoming weeks.

While some towns, such as West Tisbury, have sent letters advocating for the governor to continue allowing meetings over Zoom, others like Oak Bluffs and Chilmark, have taken steps to begin meeting in person. All towns intend to continue providing the option of remote participation for the public in a hybrid capacity.

Current plans for all six Island towns follow; information was obtained from town administrators.


Town hall reopened to the public June 1. Masks and social distancing measures, including plexiglass, remain in place. The town plans to continue holding municipal meetings remotely over Zoom.

Oak Bluffs

Town hall reopened to the public June 1. Masks and social distancing measures, including plexiglass, will remain in place until August 1. The town hall capacity limit is set at 50.

The town plans to start holding in-person meetings on June 14. Meetings will continue to be broadcast live through Zoom.


Town hall reopened to the public June 1. Masks are required for entry, but no capacity limits are in place. The town will continue holding meetings over Zoom, with a plan to revisit the issue on June 15.

West Tisbury

Town hall reopened to the public May 20. Masks are required for entry, and social distancing measures, including plexiglass, remain in place. The town has no immediate plan to transition to in-person meetings, and has sent a letter to the governor requesting an extension to the remote meeting executive order.


Town hall is open to the public, but appointments with department heads are still recommended, and masks and hand sanitizer are both required at the door. The town will transition to in-person meetings June 15, with an approximately five-person capacity limit for members of the public to attend in person. The meetings will be held in a hybrid capacity, with remote participation available through a Zoom live stream.


Town hall lobby is open to the public, with masks required for entry. The town plans to move to in person public meetings starting next Wednesday, with Zoom participation still available.

Maia Coleman, Kate Dario and Aliyah Walker contributed reporting.