The Island Inn in Oak Bluffs opened this week to provide free emergency residence for Islanders who are at high risk of exposure during the pandemic and may need to be isolated from family or other household members.

There are currently four people living at the inn, which has condominium-style apartments with heat, private kitchens and bathrooms, Oak Bluffs police chief Eric Blake said.

High-risk workers include doctors, nurses and emergency responders.

Chief Blake, who is also the town emergency management director, said as the pandemic began to unfold last month, he had identified a need for housing people who are at high risk for exposure to the virus at work, and may not want to go home for fear of exposing their families.

The chief said he contacted several Island hotels, but found owners were hesitant and worried about a possible stigma down the road from having put up people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Chief Blake said he contacted the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to weigh other options. Gymnasium-style housing was suggested, but he felt that wasn’t a good option.

Then he said Leah Jampel, who is the manager of the Island Inn, contacted him to see what she could do to help, and he found a solution.

The inn is located behind Noman’s restaurant on Beach Road in Harthaven (the seasonal restaurant is closed).

Chief Blake said the available units at the inn are not limited to health care workers.

“There’s a whole list of people who can go into these,” he said, referring to the condominiums.

No rent is being charged. Anyone needing the emergency housing can call the Oak Bluffs police department at 508-693-0750 for information.