FAQ - What to Expect When Visiting Nantucket
COVID-19 restrictions on Nantucket Island have been reinstated due to a surge in cases.
In addition to official Town of Nantucket guidance and restrictions update, a number of private businesses on Nantucket are announcing increased or additional rules for their guests and customers, including requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test. Please take note of and follow all posted restrictions as you visit island establishments. This is a changing situation, and it is likely that restrictions and rules will change frequently.
This FAQ page was last updated on AUGUST 9, 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 29, 2021, Massachusetts has issued a new Mask Advisory consistent with updated CDC guidance. Masks remain mandatory on public and private transportation systems—this includes NRTA busses, ferries to and from the island, and commercial flights to and from the island. Masks are also required in health care facilities, congregate care settings, and other settings. Masks may still be by individual businesses on Nantucket: look for posted signs for guidance.
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.
This new Emergency Order to deal with the current surge in COVID cases can be read in full here.
The primary restrictions include (but are not limited to):
- All customers & staff shall wear masks in retail establishments, restaurants, bars, event venues, social clubs, event spaces, municipal buildings, and places of worship.
- Customers in restaurants and bars may only remove face-coverings when seated at a table or at the bar. Patrons standing at the bar must be masked.
- It is recommended that all persons who do not reside in the same household maintain a physical distance of six feet, when possible and when in a location that is open to the public. Wearing a mask is not a substitute for maintaining 6 feet of physical distancing.
- It is recommended that all non-vaccinated individuals wear a mask or face covering in all public places, whether indoors or outdoors.
Two of the three ships in the Boston Tea Party were Nantucket ships. In the 1700s & 1800s, Nantucket was the whaling capitol of the world. In the 1900s, Nantucket became a famous summer resort. Now Nantucket Island is famous for Daffodil Festival, Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, Nantucket Film Festival, Nantucket Comedy Festival, Cranberry Festival, and Christmas Stroll.
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. Visit the Insiders Guide to Nantucket for daily beach conditions.
Click here for more beach guidance from the Town of Nantucket.
There are no fees to access island beaches by foot, nearly all of Nantucket’s 110-mile coastline is free and open to the public. Some beaches are part of private property, and there is a fee to drive onto beaches. Beach permits for cars are purchased from the Town of Nantucket and permits to drive onto the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge are available from the Trustees of Reservations
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.
Yes, Nantucket Cottage Hospital is an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners Healthcare.
Since 1911, Nantucket Cottage Hospital has cared for island residents and visitors with compassion and integrity. In February 2019, the new medical facility opened on-island. Our new hospital enhances access, safety and privacy for patients, allowing us to better serve the island community with a broad range of medical services. We are proud that Nantucket sets a national standard for small community hospitals by offering expanded outpatient services with capacity for inpatient care and surgery, giving patients a central location for all their healthcare needs, including primary, emergency, and specialty care, as well as diagnostic testing.
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.
Camping is not permitted on Nantucket Island unless you are on private property with the permission of the homeowner or a member of the Scouts of America participating in an organized trip at Camp Richard.
Town bylaws state: No person shall, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., set up on any property, public or private, without permission of the owner thereof, a camp or tent or sleep in the open or in a vehicle within the territorial limits of the Town of Nantucket. Any person violating this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200 for each offense.