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What to Expect When Visiting Nantucket During the Pandemic

These FAQs will be updated frequently as the State of Massachusetts and Town of Nantucket change their rules and guidance and as island businesses change their practices to fit the current situation.
This page was last updated on May 28, 2020.

Are ferries running?

Yes, both the Hy-Line and the Steamship are servicing Nantucket. Their schedules are different from what they usually offer this time of year, and they may be accepting fewer passengers, so be sure to make an advance reservation.

Do I have to wear a face covering on the ferry?

Yes, ferry companies are currently requiring passengers to wear face coverings on their boats. The current Massachusetts advisory is to wear a face covering (cloth or mask) in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This is also consistent with CDC recommendations. REMEMBER to bring your face covering as the ferry lines do not supply them to passengers.

Is the Nantucket airport open?

Yes, Nantucket Municipal Airport (ACK) is open and commercial flights are bringing passengers here. Contact your airline for details on wearing face covering (required) and other guidance for flying to Nantucket during the pandemic.

Are children required to wear face coverings or masks?

Yes, the governor’s current order to cover your nose and mouth when in public and social distancing is not possible does apply to everyone over the age of 2.

Must we practice social distancing while wearing face covering?

Yes. Maintaining 6 feet of space between yourself and other people (social distancing) is the most effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Where can I get a mask on Nantucket if I lose mine?

Several retailers on Nantucket are selling masks, though most are currently offering delivery only. Nantucket Pharmacy on Main Street does carry face coverings (though their supply is limited). Come to their doorway (do not go inside), and a staffer will meet you.

Can I rent a car on Nantucket?

Yes, car rental agencies are currently offering rentals. Book in advance online because some currently have limited inventory.

Is the NRTA Bus System running on Nantucket?

Yes, NRTA buses are operating several of their routes. Face covering is required to ride the bus. NRTA employees are providing additional cleanings and regularly disinfecting the vehicles and facilities.

If I travel to Nantucket do I have to quarantine for 14 days?

Because quarantining is urged rather than mandated, it depends on your circumstances.
If you are a homeowner who is returning to Nantucket to a home you own OR if you are renting accommodation on the island for 30 days or more, then quarantining for 14 days is urged, particularly if you traveled to the island from a coronavirus hot spot or if you may have been exposed during your travel here.
Currently, the state of Massachusetts is not permitting short-term rentals.
If you are traveling to Nantucket for the day, then quarantining is not necessary; however, you are advised to practice social distancing and to be sure to wear face covering over your nose and mouth.

Are Nantucket beaches open?

Yes, but when you visit Nantucket beaches, you must still wear a mask and practice social distancing. You may remove your mask when swimming. If you drive onto an island beach (with a beach sticker!) you must park 15- to 20-feet apart. When you visit Nantucket beaches, REMEMBER to leave only your footprints behind. Many beaches here do not have trash bins, so be prepared to bring your trash home with you to dispose of properly.

Is surfcasting permitted on Nantucket beaches?

Surfcasting is currently permitted, and beach stickers for vehicles on Town beaches are being sold online

Are fishing charter companies operating?

Yes, as part of Governor Baker's Phase 1 of reopening of Massachusetts, for-hire fishing may resume on May 25, 2020. Visit the Boating Page for links to island charter boats.

Are Nantucket museums open?

No. Currently island museums are offering virtual tours and programs.

Are inns and hotels open?

Currently no rentals for under 30 days are permitted by the governor. This rule may change at any time, so contact the island accommodation of your choice for details.

Where can I buy food on Nantucket?

Most island eateries are offering takeout only, even restaurants that did not previously offer takeout. For a list of options and a list of where you can eat your takeout, visit the Dining during the Pandemic page.

How will shops protect their customers once they open?

Island merchants are deciding this now in anticipation of opening their doors (currently shops are not permitted to welcome customers inside). Plans include frequent cleanings, requiring gloves, and requiring masks. Some retailers plan to supply gloves, but it is best to be prepared with your own protection equipment.

Does Nantucket have a hospital?

Yes, Nantucket Cottage Hospital is located mid-island in new facilities.

How many cases of COVID-19 have there been on Nantucket?

Because of many precautions, such as complying with stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and wearing of face coverings, Nantucket has had very few cases of COVID-19 and very few hospitalizations. Nantucket Cottage Hospital updates the count every evening here.

Will Nantucket Beaches have lifeguards?

Yes, starting June 15, lifeguards will be posted on Nantucket town beaches to safeguard the public enjoying the waters around our island.

Are taxis operating on Nantucket?

Yes, island cabbies are accepting fares. Drivers will be wearing face-covering and will frequently disinfect their taxis. It is recommended that passengers wear face-coverings as well.

How is Massachusetts handling reopening of the state?

Governor Baker has instituted a phased reopening. We are in Phase 1 until June 8. If all goes as planned, more establishments will reopen in Phase 2 (June 8). You can see more details about this on the State of MA website.

Are public bathrooms open for use on Nantucket?

Yes, there are several options for public bathrooms in downtown Nantucket. Visitors Services at 25 Federal Street has men’s and women’s bathrooms (access around back of the Visitor Center) that are open every day from 9 am. And, if you have traveled to the island aboard a Steamship Authority vessel, there are bathrooms in their terminal on Steamboat Wharf. The airport (mid-island) also has bathrooms.

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