FAQ - 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.
As of May 1, 2021, the Town of Nantucket no longer requires masks to be worn outdoors on Nantucket where social distancing is possible: if social distancing is not possible, or if sector-specific guidance calls for it masks are still required. And masks are still required in all indoor spaces on Nantucket.
The State of Massachusetts no longer requires quarantine or a negative COVID-19 test for people traveling to MA who are fully vaccinated (2 doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or 1 dose of the J&J vaccine) more than 14 days previous to travel and who do not have symptoms. It is recommended that travelers carry their vaccination cards.
Subject to public health & vaccination data:
~ effective May 10, 2021, Massachusetts will reopen some outdoor Phase 4, Step 2 industries
~ effective May 29, 2021, some gathering limits will increase and maximum table occupancy at restaurants will increase to 10
~ effective August 1, 2021, all remaining industries will be permitted to open. Local restrictions may still be in force.
Current Nantucket County Pandemic Emergency Orders can be read here.
This Pandemic FAQ page was last updated on May 1, 2021.
Governor Charlie Baker’s new travel order is now in effect, which requires all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts from out of state who do not meet an exemption to complete a Travel Form and quarantine for 14 days unless they can demonstrate proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival. You may obtain a test at your own expense after your arrival in Massachusetts, but you must quarantine until you obtain a negative result.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital is able to schedule asymptomatic COVID-19 tests ahead of time, and is urging those who may need to be tested to request a testing appointment at NCH as far in advance as possible by clicking here. Non-medically necessary COVID-19 tests are available at NCH for $150 per test by appointment only.
Patients with one or more symptoms of COVID-19 should arrive without an appointment at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance portico. The costs of these medically-necessary COVID-19 tests are completely covered whether you have insurance or not.
Current COVID-19 testing hours of operation at Nantucket Cottage Hospital can be found at the hospital website.
As of May 1, 2021, masks are no longer required outdoors on Nantucket Island when social distancing is followed. If you cannot practice social distancing outside, then you must still wear a mask. Masks are still required indoors and in certain sector-specific situations. Please follow mask & face-covering guidance that is posted and/or required by individual businesses on Nantucket.
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.
Yes, ferry companies are requiring passengers to wear face coverings on their boats. In addition: people traveling on the shuttles to and from the ferry lines are also required to wear face-coverings. REMEMBER to bring your face covering as the ferry lines do not supply them to passengers.
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.
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.
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.
“All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to:
- Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.
- Quarantine or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. Individuals who do not quarantine may be subject to a fine.
- If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
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.
Surfcasting is currently permitted, and beach stickers for vehicles on Town beaches are being sold online https://www.paybill.com/nantucketpolice/BeachVehiclePermit/default1.asp
The Nantucket Whaling Museum is now open to the public: face-coverings are required for entry. Visitors and Members can reserve their visit and purchase their ticket online at NHA.org. Walk-ins will still be possible at the Whaling Museum, but it is recommended to book in advance to ensure your desired day and time. To ensure social distancing, capacity may be limited.
Inns and hotels on Nantucket are able to accept guests. Lodging operators must follow state requirements on cleaning and disinfecting their establishments. As the state of Massachusetts continues to reopen, ask lodging operators about hosting weddings, business events, or other organized gatherings.
Nantucket restaurants are permitted to serve guests in their indoor dining rooms, with safety measures and distancing. Most still have requirements for face-coverings. Many island eateries are also offering takeout service.
Yes, retail shops are open with limited occupancy. Customers must wear face-covering, and shop employees will enforce this, so please be polite. Merchants put markers outside of their stores to ensure 6 feet of distance between customers waiting to enter and must, whenever possible, ensure separation of 6 feet or more between customers inside. Contactless payment methods are encouraged. More details here
Yes, lifeguards are posted on Nantucket Town beaches to safeguard the public enjoying the waters around our island. Face-coverings are required on the beaches (not while swimming), and social distancing is required. Gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted on the beach. Visit the Insiders Guide to Nantucket for daily beach conditions.
Click here for more beach guidance from the Town of 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.
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.
Nantucket is a place of natural beauty, and during the pandemic restrictions, outdoors is the perfect place to be. Rent a bike or a car and visit our island lighthouses, explore the village of Siasconset, take a walk at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation or on one of the many Nantucket Conservation Foundation Properties. Golf courses are open, fishing and sailing charters are accepting passengers, and guides are offering walking tours. Children’s playgrounds are open, with some restrictions and cautionary notes.