Massachusetts is now in the third phase of re-opening under a four-phase plan developed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Here is a list of answers to frequently asked questions that provide some general guidelines for returning seasonal residents and visitors. It will be updated as new information becomes available. If you have a question that you would like answered, email and we will try to answer it in this column.

Up-to-date information on restaurants and other businesses that are operating can be found in What's Open, What's Closed on Martha's Vineyard.

Are ferries running normally?

Steamship Authority ferries run daily from 6 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. The boat line began running a summer schedule in June with the reopening of the Oak Bluffs terminal. For the most up-to-date schedules, visit

Seasonal, passenger-only ferries include the Hy-Line, which run daily service between Hyannis and Oak Bluffs (; Island Queen, with daily trips between Falmouth and Oak Bluffs (; Falmouth-Edgartown Ferry(  Patriot Party Boats runs a year-round passenger and small freight shuttle between Falmouth and Oak Bluffs, and offers after-hours water taxi service ( The Rhode Island Fast Ferry from Quonset Point has been canceled for the season (

Is it safe to ride the ferries?

In addition to the regular cleaning of vessels between every trip, Steamship Authority crew members, bus drivers, parking lot attendants and terminal employees are disinfecting all hand railings, table tops, door handles, seats, faucets, and toilets both in between trips and during trips as needed. “We are well-stocked with cleaning supplies and have ordered extra hand sanitizers and other supplies for our customers to use while traveling with us,” the boat line said on its website.

Passengers are required to wear masks when boarding, disembarking and traveling inside all ferries.

What about the airport?

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport is open; summer carriers began running in July; most are running reduced schedules due to lower demand.

If I am arriving from out of state, do I have to self-quarantine for 14 days?

Effective Aug. 1, anyone arriving in Massachusetts beginning Aug. 1 is required to fill out a Massachusetts Travel Form and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a state determined to be lower risk or can produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test administered not more than 72 hours before arrival. Lower-risk states include  Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Hawaii. Rhode Island was previously on the list, but as of Aug. 7 it is no longer considered a lower-risk state. Anyone failing to comply is subject to a fine of up to $500 a day.

Will I be welcome when I get to the Island?

Yes, as long as you join the Island community in observing state and local guidelines, including wearing masks in public, social distancing at all times, keeping dogs on leashes, and understanding that this summer will be different from anything the Island has seen before.

What are the rules about wearing masks?

Wearing a mask is required inside all business establishments and outside whenever you are unable to stay at least six feet from others. Effective July 10, masks are mandatory in downtown Edgartown, indoors and outdoors, for everyone over the age of two unless there is a medical reason for not wearing a mask. Violations are punishable by fines. Face coverngs are strongly urged in all other towns.

What about summer events? Will there be things to do?

Most of the signature summer events, including Illumination Night and the Ag Fair, have been canceled. The Playhouse has canceled its summer season. The Capawock and Strand movies theatres have gone dark for the summer. The MV Film center reopened its doors in July with the beginning of phase three. Other events and their status are listed on the Complete Martha’s Vineyard Calendar.

Can I go to the beach?

Massachusetts beaches are open with restrictions including at least 12 feet between groups. Parking and access is being limited at up-Island town beaches, including Lambert’s Cove, Philbin and Lucy Vincent. Admission to Long Point Beach owned by the Trustees of Reservations is by advance appointment online. At all beaches masks do not need to be worn in the water. Ball games on beaches are prohibited. You can find more information here.

Can I ride my bike?

Yes, on roads and trails where it is ordinarily allowed, with consideration for traffic, pedestrians and other cyclists.

Are Island trails open for hiking?

Properties managed by the Land Bank, Sheriff’s Meadow and the Trustees of Reservation are all open for hiking.  Hikers must follow posted rules and stay at least six feet from others. Dogs must be leashed.

What other activities are allowed?

Golf courses and tennis courts are open, with social distancing required. Charter fishing is permitted, but there are limits on the number of people on boats. Houses of worship are open, although most are still holding services online. Hair salons, nail services and pet groomers are open. Island library buildings remain closed, but are offering contact-less pickup of books and other materials.

Are restaurants open?

Most Island restaurants are now open for carry-out and outdoor dining, with a smaller number offering limited indoor dining with strict social distancing. Some offer home delivery. Our feature, What’s Open and What’s Closed on Martha’s Vineyard, is updated daily.

What about grocery stores and farm stands?

All the Island grocery stores are open except for Up-Island Cronig’s. The West Tisbury Farmers' Market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays at its new location at the Agricultural Hall fairgrounds in West Tisbury. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon. Face coverings are required for all market attendees. Many Island farmstands are open with different rules for ordering and pickup.  Retail stores are also open.

Are public restrooms available?

Town public bathrooms are open for the season. Steamship Authority bathrooms are available year-round.

Are buses and taxis operating?

Vineyard Transit Authority buses run seven days a week. The VTA sanitizes its buses daily and has hand sanitizer stations aboard each vehicle. Schedules are posted at

Taxi services also are operating. Masks are required on all bus, taxi and share rides such as Lyft and Uber.

What should I do if I show symptoms of Covid-19? Is medical care available for non-virus issues?

If you experience symptoms of Covid-19 and don’t have a primary care physician on Island, call the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital's call center at 508-684-4500, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. For other medical emergencies, call 911. The hospital has reopened its other services, including physical therapy, pediatric care, preventive health screenings and elective procedures.

I understand there is free testing available for Covid-19 on the Island?

Yes, thanks to a partnership among Quest Diagnostics, Island Health Care and the Island boards of health, TestMV is offering free, self-administered drive-through screening at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School by appointment to any resident or visitor to the Island. More information on the program is available here. To schedule a test, call 877-336-9855. The Gazette carries information on the number of cases and other Covid-19 information on the home page of its website; the information is updated daily.

Where can I stay if I come to the Vineyard?

Hotels, inns and short-term rental properties were allowed to reopen starting June 8 under Governor Baker's guidelines, and many are offering incentives to travelers. 

I rented a house on the Island for later this summer, but now I’m worried about coming. Can I get a refund of my deposit?

That depends on the contract you signed and on your landlord's flexibility in enforcing its terms. Many rental contracts have non-refundable deposits. Some landlords nonetheless have been willing to credit renters for a future stay, or refund deposits in full, but each case is unique.