In the spirit of compromise — and Islandwide unity — five of the six Vineyard towns have quickly settled on April 27 as the date to phase in limited construction work, voting to extend strict building moratoriums for an another 10 days before allowing one and two-man crews to get back on the job.

Edgartown, Chilmark, West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury have all agreed to the construction ban extension. Phase one of new back-to-work guidelines will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 27.

The decisions cap a week of impassioned debate around how and when to restart construction work that ultimately split the Island along geographic lines.

In the past 24 hours, however, the towns rapidly fell into lock step, deciding on April 27 as an appropriate date to allow small crews back on job sites, with strict protocols for hygiene and distancing.

Oak Bluffs town administrator Bob Whritenour, who previously advocated strongly for a start date of April 22, said Friday that he understood the importance of choosing a date that worked for all Island towns — and that heeds the advice of medical professionals.

“Regionally and locally, I do have some misgivings on not allowing some limited crews out on April 22,” Mr. Whritenour said at an Oak Bluffs selectmen’s Friday. “But in the spirit of keeping the entire Island community 100 per cent together and in lockstep with the medical community, I think it’s reasonable to take this step to adopt the order that establishes the limited phase one back to work on April 27.”

Five of the six Island towns instituted strict construction bans shortly after the coronavirus outbreak began, with the intention of drafting guidelines during that time frame.

The bans were set to expire on Tuesday and will now be extended.

Earlier in the week, with the back-to-work guidelines in hand and a plan to allow limited work to begin again April 22, town leaders paused when hospital president and CEO Denise Schepici intervened at the 11th hour, calling it a “dire mistake.”

After a tense conference call Wednesday, towns remained divided on the issue, with up-Island officials advocating for April 28 and down-Island towns arguing for April 22.

By Friday, tensions had cooled, and all five towns settled on April 27 as a compromise date.

Oak Bluffs selectman Brian Packish credited town attorneys, as well as the working group that drafted the guidelines, for helping to broker the compromise.

“After that [Wednesday] call, town counsels and the working groups had some discussion,” Mr. Packish told the Gazette.

West Tisbury and Chilmark voted to adopt the guidelines Thursday afternoon.

On Friday Tisbury approved the guidelines at a morning meeting. Oak Bluffs followed suit early Friday afternoon. Edgartown voted its piece at a meeting late Friday afternoon.

(Early on in the pandemic, Aquinnah adopted its own construction ban that is slightly less restrictive than the other towns.)

Drafted by a group that included town public health officials, building inspectors, and members of the construction, landscaping and trades community, landscaper and other tradespeople, the guidelines aim to bring the Island construction ban more closely into compliance with regulations at the state level. They constitute phase one of a larger get-back-to-work game plan that officials hope will gradually allow the robust building trades to resume once the pandemic subsides.

Among other things, the guidelines outline detailed safety and hygienic protocols for workers, requiring them to wear gloves, keep cleaning logs for jobsites, and to have running water and at least one bathroom with soap.

No more than one or two workers at a time will be allowed at construction sites or work sites.

The guidelines also state that workers can only arrive at sites by foot, by bicycle or single-occupancy vehicle.

Will Sennott and Aaron Wilson contributed reporting.